Model D-troiters: The Blumz Guys

It's a pretty cool day when you meet folks who know what they want. First, you'll walk away buzzing from a really great gabfest. Then, you'll begin to start to putting a face to the mad energy that's helping change Detroit. So naturally, after a sit-down with two Detroit residents and entrepreneurs who know that they want beautiful flowers and a new and better Detroit, you'll walk away supporting the exact same things they do.

Self-proclaimed workaholics, Robbin Yelverton and Jerome Raska, joined creative forces six years ago after realizing that they both had the same love of the bloom that they did of the city of Detroit. The result was a little flower shop that could simply named: Blumz. "We're not your typical mom and pop flower shop," says Yelverton. "We can do traditional flower work, but we like the weird, fun stuff." Raska adds, "If someone wants florals that make a statement, we're the ones they need to call. The bottom line is this, in today's marketplace you can buy flowers in a lot of places, it's what we can do with the flowers that sets us apart."

First starting out in an interior space within the First National Building that was no bigger than a walk-in cooler, Blumz now has a spacier location inside the Tobin Building in Harmonie Park. The new Blumz space has become just one of the gang in the resurging area and now proudly boasts an art gallery and networking space, home accent pieces for loft-dwellers and of course, the pretty flowers.

"We're proud to be a part of the city and everything that's going on. We're lovin' it,' says Yelverton. "You know, I'm originally from rural Mississippi so you can't beat watching things unfurl from a storefront downtown. We also came to find out that our corner of the Tobin used to be a flower shop so we're sort of bringing the flowers back to Broadway and Gratiot. Sort of karmic, really."

Blumz also opened a location on Eight Mile right on the border of Detroit and Ferndale. Originally leased out to be a studio/warehouse space, the two quickly decided that that area needed some love and some flowers, too. Their quick decision to open up shop has translated into a thriving business and the Eight Mile Beautification Award three years running. "We like to take ugly things and make them pretty," Raska says.

Even though Raska and Yelverton have been Detroiters for just shy of a decade, they pimp their University District neighborhood and the live/work in the city thing like lifelong residents. "I personally came to Detroit because of the architecture and stayed because of the people," says Raska. "You can have a big sports event and people will converge on the city and that's fabulous, but they come and then they go. The thing that we like most about the city right now is that we're seeing a lot of residents moving back in. To us that's key. And, we want the residents of the city of Detroit to be our customers," he finishes.

Thanks, Blumz guys. With you two in our midst, Detroit has never looked (and smelled) so darn good.


Flowers at Blumz

Jerome Raska and Robbin Yelverton

Flowers at Blumz

Blumz in the Tobin Building in Harmonie Park

All Photographs Copyright Dave Krieger

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