The talent a Frankfort man found as a teenager has turned into a blooming business and taken him by surprise. Ben Lee is the owner and operator of Benjamin’s Flowers and Gifts just off the West Frankfort Connector and Devils Hollow Road.
“Floral design is all I’ve ever done,” Ben Lee shared. “It started as a hobby at a small store in high school and has now blossomed into a dream business.”
“Ben is a very talented florist,” Holly Brunson Manager of Independence Bank says. “Frankfort has been blessed to have him in our community.”
Bouquets and boutonnieres are only a small sample of the available items at Benjamin’s. They also carry home décor, seasonal must haves, and gifts including an array of candle lines and books.
“Benjamin’s is decorated so beautifully. If you have not yet visited, you need to; just walking in the door is enough to put a smile on your face.” says Holly.
“I work every day to make connections with my customers,” Lee explained. “My work can touch on every emotional aspect in a person’s life. This could include a newborn baby, a first high-school prom, weddings and inevitably death.”
Lee’s store opened on January 1st, 2020, merely months before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted non-essential industries across the country.
“I got scared,” Lee recalls. “But through it all I knew that if I could get local support I would survive. Being new actually helped my business because I was able to adapt quickly and people could still call and have orders dropped off.”
Independence Bank President Greg Burton describes small businesses as the lifeblood of any community. He believes most local industries, especially those in foodservice and hospitality, were hit especially hard by the pandemic.
“Independence Bank was able to help many small businesses such as Benjamin’s during the peak of the pandemic’s financial impacts,” Burton explained. “I truly believe that had it not been for the PPP program that we successfully rolled out to our customers, many might not be in business today. It was critical funding at a time when they needed it most.”
Independence Bank is proud to support small businesses in the markets we serve. This belief continues throughout the year — not just on Small Business Saturday in November. This Initiative started in 2012 with the Bank sponsoring various Small business and Local Love events and continue to develop and grow every year since.
These partnerships within the Bank’s communities have helped promote more than 1,500 local businesses while giving out over 5,000 Local Love totes full of local business coupons including Benjamin’s Flowers and Gifts.
When he opened the shop more than a year-and-a-half ago, Lee had no doubts he would have local support. That local support since opening has exceeded Lee’s expectation tenfold. So much so that Lee has hired part-time helpers to keep up with demand.
“When our local economy grows, the entire community reaps the benefits,” Brunson stated. “Small habit changes such as purchasing your flower arrangements from Benjamin’s or buying gifts for a loved one here in town can make a huge difference.”
So what does a typical day look like for many small business owners? Lee chuckles at the thought of trying to describe a “typical day.” He added there are always a few common consistencies. Early mornings are a must.
Wholesale orders need to be in by 8 a.m. Doors open to the public an hour later. Between 9-11 a.m., the phone can be heard “ringing off the hook.” The hustle continues throughout the afternoon while designing and delivering orders. Most days do not end by dinner time. Evenings and weekend work may also be needed, but satisfied customers is the push behind his sacrifice.
“My specialty is for people to expect something I made,” Lee said. “These personalized items are handmade and hand delivered.”
Lee’s impressive work isn’t going unnoticed. As President of the Kentucky Florists Association, he has been named Designer of the Year for a second time spanning his career.
Independence Bank was happy to assist Ben when opening his own business at the start of 2020 and knows firsthand the hard work he has put into his business.
His goal in 2022 is to continue growing at a strong pace.
Flowers can be ordered online 24/7 at benjaminsflowersandgifts.com or by calling 502-699-2724.