Illinois florist worried the pandemic would close her south suburban startup. Delivering surprise bouquets helped it thrive.

When the COVID-19 pandemic really started to take hold in March and the first stay-at-home orders went into place, like many small business owners Tinley Park’s Lisa Wiencek felt blindsided.

“At the beginning of COVID, I was like, ‘I want to chill out. I don’t know what I’m going to do,’” Wiencek said. “I just shut down.”

Wiencek, 34, had just started FloraLore, a floral design company, out of her home studio roughly a year and a half ago. But 2020 marked the first full year for her, when she expected to get the business off the ground and truly up and running.

COVID-19, and the restrictions and anxieties that came with it, quickly changed her expectations. She was trying to regroup.

“Then, I got three calls wanting flowers in the span of maybe two days,” Wiencek said. “I was like, ‘OK, maybe I need to come out of hiding.’ But then I was realizing to fulfill those orders, I was buying more than I actually needed, because I buy wholesale bunches. What can I do?”

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