A long-ago choice of where to live started Brooke Rinkenbaugh on a path that’s leading her to now open 626 Flower House, a new flower shop in downtown Wichita.
“I’ve been in the floral industry since I was 21,” Rinkenbaugh says.
She was living in an apartment above La Bella floral shop in Augusta when she first started helping owner Darcy Herold at the business a couple of days a week.
“Valentine’s Day came around, and she said, ‘Maybe you should do a dozen roses,’ ” Rinkenbaugh says.
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She processed and designed them, and Herold liked what she saw, so Rinkenbaugh did that “for like five days straight.”
“She said, ‘OK, let’s try something else,’ ” Rinkenbaugh says. “She kind of let me bring my creativity to her shop.”
Rinkenbaugh learned the industry and, after La Bella closed, she worked for other shops through the years.
Rinkenbaugh also left the industry for a time before realizing it’s where she wanted to be for the long term.
“I decided I was ready to work for myself,” she says.
Her store, which is at 626 E. Douglas, will be a full-service floral shop with flowers for all occasions.
“I do a lot of weddings,” Rinkenbaugh says.
She’s already been taking orders to fill for other florists nationally.
The store isn’t open quite yet, though. Ideally, Rinkenbaugh would like to open by Saturday. At the latest, 626 Flower Shop will be open by Jan. 8, and it will sell more than just flowers.
“I will have different gift ideas,” Rinkenbaugh says.
She’ll sell items such as chocolate and children’s hats, blankets and other items that her mother, Teri Rinkenbaugh, makes.
“My mother is very crafty, and she can crochet anything in a day.”
Rinkenbaugh also will sell pet treats.
“We are pet friendly,” she says.
Her 6-month-old puppy, Luke, will greet shoppers.
“He sits by the front door,” Rinkenbaugh says. “He is going to be my little shop dog.”
An inside look at The Arcade, set to open Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Old Town. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)