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Flower power blossoms in downtown Basalt; expands to C’dale

By S. Michael Jundt

With a diverse resume in the corporate world, Susan Burr, owner of Susan’s Flowers & Gifts, has not always been surrounded with the serenity she finds in her current profession. Originally from St. Louis, Susan graduated from Tulsa University with a degree in graphic design.

“Over the past 30 years my design skills,” says Susan, “were used in both the oil and electric industries. I also drew schematics for the aviation world and created package designs for specialty foods.”

Susan won national awards for her logo and package designs. Two of her outdoor murals in El Paso, commemorating the town’s 400-year anniversary, are on the Historic Walking Tour. “The murals,” says Susan, “are six stories high and were painted by my all women crew.”

Through her various career endeavors Susan has lived in Oklahoma, New Mexico and in about every large city in Texas, which is where she met her husband, Buddy.

Buddy is the reason Susan lives here. “Early on he told me about this great place to ski and where he would one day like to live, which was Snowmass. On our first trip to Snowmass, I fell in love with the area and told him, ‘You can go back to Texas, sell the house and move everything up here!’ It only took us two years to do just that.”

Buddy has been a ski pro at Aspen Highlands for 17 years. “He’s living his dream too,” says Susan.

“When we made the move here, I first took a job at a hotel that worked out well for a while. Then, I saw an ad for a “floral designer” at a shop in Basalt. I thought, ‘I’m creative, I can do that, it’s just a different combination of elements.’ I was hired and received on the job training from the designer I was replacing and embraced this new creative outlet with gusto.”

Susan’s Flowers & Gifts was born a few years later in that very shop. Even after 14 years Susan continues to attend floral design workshops to keep her skills honed. “My designs have evolved immensely,” says Susan, “since the first year in the flower shop.” Besides working floral magic for everyday shoppers and deliveries, Susan is also at the top of her craft when decorating homes and businesses for the holidays.

Of course, 14 years of providing flowers for all sorts of special occasions brings about an interesting moment or two. “One of my favorite weddings had the reception around a pool,” says Susan. “As the evening wore on (note: open bar) the bridal party started jumping in. They were soon followed by the guests and finished with sweet old grandma making a splash, silk suit and all.”

In Susan’s spare time she enjoys skiing, hiking 14ers, riding her horse and pretty much anything that’s outdoors. Oh, and scuba diving.

“The diving has taken us to some remote places,” says Susan. “I love the escape and being part of the world under the water . . . I think I was a mermaid in a former life as it’s a real comfort zone for me.”

With her success in Basalt, Susan had an opportunity last winter to open a second shop in Carbondale, located in Madd Foxx. “I thought, what the heck, give it a shot,” says Susan, “The feeling of belonging to and being part of a community is very contagious.”