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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Susan Reynolds, left, and Jamie Rehm at Bud Floral + Home in Red Bank.

The decision Jamie Rehm and Susan Reynolds made to go into business together was nothing if not intuitive.

"We decided that we didn't know what we didn't know," Reynolds says, "so let's give it a shot."

In late 2019, Rehm and Reynolds opened Bud Floral + Home in Red Bank. And while Bud was a startup, Rehm and Reynolds were hardly beginning empty-handed. Rehm had built and was running a successful floral business on Signal Mountain.

"I got my love of flowers from my grandparents," says Rehm, who adds that she named the business for her grandfather. "They had big gardens and a greenhouse in the backyard. To this day, the smell of a gardenia takes me back to my childhood."

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Bud Floral + Home is a creative endeavor

A native Texan, Rehm says she and her family moved to Chattanooga in 2003. In trying to get established, she says, she volunteered for various local organizations.

"Fresh flowers came easily to me, so I'd always gravitate to the decorative," she says. "Then people started asking me to do small events, then larger events like graduations and birthdays.

"It went from being a sort of professional hobby to part-time. Then I started doing flowers for a local grocery, and it turned into full-time," she says.

Rehm says she went from a garage apartment to a studio on Signal Mountain, but wanted a true storefront.

"That's where Susan came in," Rehm says.

Reynolds recalls doing a lot of volunteer work alongside Rehm for Baylor School, where their children attended, and that she'd been a customer of Rehm's. The conversation about going into business together, Reynolds says, was "very organic."

"Jamie was looking to expand and move down the mountain," Reynolds says, "and I was becoming an empty-nester. Everything just kind of fell into place."

Reynolds says she and Rehm signed the lease in the late spring of 2019 and spent six months prepping the Dayton Boulevard space.

"Jamie had her dream space, a new workshop, and I had a vision for the home/gift/art side," Reynolds says.

Rehm says Reynolds brought art expertise to the business, especially in terms of being a "wonderful" curator. Bud Floral + Home displays a collection comprised of works of about a dozen artists, Rehm says.

"People will come in for flowers and say, 'We didn't know you had this,'" she says. "It's the unexpected that we enjoy a lot."

When it comes to gifts, Rehm says, she and Reynolds don't think in terms of being in competition with other, similar area stores.

Bud Floral + Home

* Address: 2206 Dayton Blvd.

* Online: budfloralandhome.com

"Our mindset is to seek out gifts that are different – niche items you can't find anywhere else in Chattanooga," she says. "We don't have a lot of anything, but we do have a few very special things at a lot of different price points."

Bud Floral + Home opened in November of 2019. Reynolds recalls the "enthusiasm was very encouraging" and that she and Rehm had a "huge floral month" in February 2020.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Businesses of all sizes shut down all over the country, but Rehm says Bud Floral + Home never completely closed the floral side.

"We got creative," she says. "Curbside. Contact-free. That [2020] Mother's Day was crazy, the busiest we'd been to that point."

Reynolds says orders were "pouring in – bereavement, anniversaries, birthdays. People just couldn't get out and shop for gifts."

Rehm says that, when conditions permitted, she and Reynolds offered floral classes, art workshops and artist receptions. She adds that now, with conditions much improved, Bud Floral + Home finds itself with an additional offering she and Reynolds hadn't anticipated.

"Baby showers," Rehm says. "It wasn't one of our original goals, but Susan has designed the storefront in such a way that it feels like a living room. It's a nice space for a small gathering when you don't want to have to prepare your own home."

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