After entering the communications field following college, Ashley Kavanagh moved to Boston with her husband to work for a marketing agency. Within two weeks of her move to the East Coast, her mother was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer.
Kavanagh and her husband returned home to Montana following her mother’s death in 2019, and she lost her father shortly after. In the wake of her parents’ deaths, she switched gears and opened Rose Petal Floral and Supplies in Cut Bank, her husband’s hometown.
“I lost both of my parents within a year of each other and just felt like I always wanted to start my own business,” she said. “I helped other people bring their businesses to communities with marketing and I felt like if I was going to do it, now is the time.”
In September, Kavanagh purchased the former Glacier Wallflowers business in Columbia Falls and opened the second Rose Petal location in the former Yoga Hive on Nucleus Avenue. Now with locations on the east and west sides of Glacier National Park, she’s featuring local retailers and florists as well as exotic plants that wouldn’t normally be found in rural areas.
“Our goal is always to bring things to communities like Columbia Falls and Cut Bank that have more of an urban feel to them — brands you wouldn’t normally see in Montana — and then we try to do the same thing with our flowers,” Kavanagh said. “We like a more whimsical and more of a magical component than tight traditional arrangements.”
Rose Petal’s hybrid of local and national brands includes larger names such as Rifle Paper Co. and PF Candle Co. and Montana brands like Windrift Hill. Folklore Coffee will also be moving into the shop with a pour-over bar, a service also provided in the Cut Bank shop.
“We try to offer people an all-encompassing experience,” Kavanagh said. “You get to come in here, have a hot drink, shop around and we always like to keep the shop with lots of plants and flowers so it’s really lush and nice in here.”
In addition to home décor, Kavanagh also keeps busy during the wedding season, working with local flower farmers including Flathead Farmworks in Kalispell. While the pandemic canceled many weddings this summer, Kavanagh says they kept busy with smaller last-minute weddings. She’s also preparing for a very busy wedding season in 2021.
Rose Petal’s busy summers on the west side of the park, with weddings all over the Flathead and north to Eureka, were another reason Kavanagh wanted to open a second location.
“We get to go to really cool destinations,” Kavanagh said. “It’s one of those things that I didn’t expect to do with this business.”
When Kavanagh purchased the business in Cut Bank, it was previously a traditional flower shop with a focus on funerals and everyday florals. But she’s revamped Rose Petal to modern retail and offers a variety of floral designs. The store gets shipments of flowers from Spokane and Miami to add to local Montana flowers.
Kavanagh is also busy arranging wreaths and holiday décor for the Christmas season and offers a home decorating service.
Kavanagh’s parents were entrepreneurs, and she now feels a different connection with them after opening Rose Petal. She always talked to her mom about opening a coffee and retail shop, and now her dream has come to fruition.
“I felt like I just needed something to feel like I was close to them and how they raised me,” Kavanagh said. “That gave me the opportunity to do it.”
For more information, visit www.glacierwallflowers.com.
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