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Love blooms with shop's help

Store has been warming hearts and gathering Valentine's Day tales in H.B. for nearly 25 years.

February 13, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Co-owner Carmen Fober, left, and floral and jewelry designer Joel Carpenter at Love N' Bloom in Huntington Beach.
Co-owner Carmen Fober, left, and floral and jewelry designer… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

They've arranged flowers for the cities of Orange County for almost 25 years. And after a quarter of a century in the floral industry, flower shop Love N' Bloom has their fair share of Valentine's Day stories.

"We had a gal that bought a G-string for her boyfriend that worked at a dealership," said Carmen Fober, owner of Love N' Bloom. "We put his name on it and put it on a big teddy bear with balloons and delivered it to that poor guy. I'm sure that he got it all day long from his coworkers."

Fober, a 63-year-old Huntington Beach resident, said she felt sorry for the recipient but it was what the customer wanted.

"If that's what you want, that's what we're going to do," she said to her customer. "You have to have an open mind."

Located on Beach Boulevard between Ellis Avenue and Garfield Avenue is Fober's flower shop which she runs along with her husband, Thom.

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Love N' Bloom isn't your typical flower shop. They will do arrangements for weddings, proms and funerals, as well as other occasions. But across their storage fridge is an embroidery machine and around the corner from that is a machine used for printing custom images on shirts, coffee mugs and various items.

These are additions they made to their shop to make it more unique and stay competitive in a slow saturating market, Thom Fober said.

"In the flower business today, you really have to do something extra to survive," Thom said. "We're doing everything we possibly can to survive. Nobody does what we do. You will not find a flower shop anywhere [else] in the United States that does [what we do]."

Carmen admits it was a better and livelier industry to be in when she first started it in 1989. But after encountering the economic hardships she and other businesses have faced for the past five years, it's hard to relive those blooming times in the flower business.

"It was really busy and insane. You would show up to work at 4 a.m. and work until midnight," she said. "But those days are gone. We don't do that anymore. This market has just changed a lot."

And as the market changes, so have they. The store has had their embroidery machine for the past 12 years and just recently, Thom upgraded his dye sublimation machine he uses for making custom gifts.

"You've got to stay on top of it all the time," Carmen said. "If you hear of something new, you have to bring it in and talk to your customers about it."

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