Pearl Meyer’s dream of flowers came true

blonde tulip flowers pearl meyer woman smiling
Pearl Meyer at The Blonde Tulip. Coconut Grove, September 2021. (Kevin Arrieta/VACO)

Pearl Meyer found her calling in childhood.

Pearl Meyer, the owner of The Blonde Tulip, has always been a flower girl — not the one who scatters petals at a wedding, but rather someone who’s been in love with flowers her whole life. This love affair with flowers began in South Dakota for the daughter of first generation Dutch-Americans.

Memories are vivid — and purple. “One florist’s brand was all purple,” she recalls. “I cut out the name ‘florist’ from their paper bags and taped it to my bedroom wall. I always knew. I was blessed knowing what I wanted to do all my life.”

As a child, she was always curious about flowers. “I used to follow my grandpa around like a puppy when he was gardening,” she says.

Blonde Tulip was a dream come true

The journey from South Dakota to Coconut Grove, like a vine, involved many twists and turns, but flowers have always been Meyer’s true north. A career in retail buying led to a South Florida opportunity with a great perk — warm weather.

“At that time, I needed a life change,” Meyer recalls. “That was a pivotal ‘life is too short’ moment for me.”

Meyer worked in flowers on and off while settling into Florida life. In 2000, she went to Holland for three months. The journey reignited her passion. “Some of my relatives are still growers today,” she says. “I just knew this was what I needed to get back into.”

Upon her return, she worked for local flower shops and a basket business — stepping stones to her ultimate dream. Soon enough, the idea for her own flower shop bloomed — in her kitchen. In 2002, she opened The Blonde Tulip inside Mayfair in the Grove.

The little girl’s dream of becoming a florist came true. A small tulip tattoo on Meyer’s left shoulder pays tribute to her Dutch roots and to that dream. “Tulips have always been my favorite.”

blonde tulip flowers pearl meyer woman arranging flowers
Pearl Meyer at The Blonde Tulip. Coconut Grove, September 2021. (Kevin Arrieta/VACO)

More than just tulips

Today, nearly twenty years later, repeat clients include local hotels, residents and businesses. Meyer is devoted to her art and the joy it brings to people. “Some of my clients of many years would text me at all hours,” she says. “My cellphone used to be the business number and many didn’t know the difference. I’m grateful for that! I said ‘thank you Jesus’ every time it happened.”

But it’s not just about the flowers, their beauty or their scent. Customers are like family — Blonde Tulip floral arrangements show up at many milestones. “You get to know these people so much,” she says. “The coolest part is doing one girl’s wedding, then her sister’s, then the baby shower.”

Pearl Meyer — and flowers — to the rescue

In 2014, Meyer expanded the flower shop with The Blonde Bistro. Like so many food businesses, the bistro suffered during the early months of the 2020 pandemic. Prior to the lockdown, customers who strolled into Pearl Meyer’s world smelled flowers as well as baked bread and freshly brewed coffee. The lunch crowd enjoyed chicken soup made from scratch using her late mother’s recipe. During lockdown, the coffee machine kept running, but only for staff and occasional workers in the building.

Flower delivery flights slowed down or stopped altogether, but Meyer, inspired by her Christian faith, was determined to stay afloat. She also challenged the idea that a flower shop wasn’t an essential business. Flowers could beautify a house or curb the sadness of social isolation.

“If every liquor store in town is open and booming and Amazon is everywhere, I thought that flowers should be everywhere, too,” she says. “Flowers could lift everyone’s spirits when they couldn’t see each other. They’re a way of sending a message.”

Meyer announced that she was still open. “I also sent flowers to twenty of my best gals,” she recalls. “We got the word out that we were open. We were going ahead. We were really trying.”

The community in turn responded with a huge wave of support.

“We couldn’t do this alone,” she notes. “The floodgates opened and made people tighter and more supportive of each other. Easter orders at The Blonde Tulip were like Mother’s Day — just beyond generous. Today, thankfully, we are back in full swing.”

blonde tulip pearl meyer floral arrangement hands
Pearl Meyer of The Blonde Tulip arranging flowers. Coconut Grove, September 2021. (Kevin Arrieta/VACO)

What is your passion?
“Flowers! Even at home, I’m always surrounded by my flowers.”

What do you love most about the Grove?
“Community — almost everybody knows everybody.”

What makes the heart of the Grove beat?
“How we help each other. We would not have gotten through 2020 if we did not help each other.”

What is your superpower?
“Passion for what I do. And determination. Don’t say I can’t do something because I will try my darndest to make it happen. It’s my faith in Jesus Christ that’s gotten me through.”

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