Mark Gordon admits he was checking out cashier Helen Cherry as she checked him out at Lowe’s.
“She’s cute,” Gordon said.
The two soon found out they had something in common – a love of home decorations – and last month they opened HC Creations, which features Cherry’s floral arrangements of preserved and artificial flowers in unusual vases that she finds and often decorates herself.
“We make a good team, in and out of the job,” Gordon said.
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Cherry traces her love of flowers back to her childhood in Spain. She came to the United States eight years ago to join her daughter, who was living in Wichita.
Cherry said she’s created floral arrangements for friends for years. She works with preserved and artificial flowers because they last longer and because she can use varieties that might otherwise not be available here.
“You can find some of them here, but not all,” she said, adding that she tries to avoid flowers that are “too common.”
“It’s a work of art and it lasts a long time this way,” Gordon said.
Cherry buys some vases from craftsmen as far away as Germany, Italy and Turkey. Others are inexpensive models that she paints herself.
“She will say, ‘This will be great as soon as I change the color,’ ” Gordon said. “She has a real talent. Before she even gets it, she can visualize how it will look.”
Cherry said her arrangements are designed to be seen from 360 degrees so they can be placed in the middle of a room. Prices range from $20 for solitaires up to $370 for towering arrangements that feature as many as a dozen elements.
The shop also carries Cherry’s jewelry, which she fashions from silver and semi-precious stones. It may soon add her original paintings as well.
Gordon also has another job, working for UPS, so for now the shop is open only by appointment. But the pair hope to offer regular hours soon.
When it is open, Cherry rarely sits still, adjusting an arrangement here or totally changing another one over there. “I never repeat the same,” she said, her cheek sporting a little glitter from one of her creations.