Gayle “Sally” Varlack Filling Island Niche with Flowers

It wasn’t long after Today’s Flowers shut its Cruz Bay doors when a dream began to blossom for Gayle Varlack.

“I just saw the need for a good flower shop on St. John and I jumped at the opportunity,” said Varlack, known to many by her nickname, Sally. “I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I can do that… in the little time that I have.’”

The talented designer will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her fine clothing and accessories store, Sally’s Couture, on November 15 — and plans to open her new flower shop, Bou-Quet, the very same day.

“I am trying to open Bou-Quet on November 15 so it can be a kind of grand opening/anniversary event,” Varlack said. “With God’s help, it will be ready by the 15.”

Varlack, who was born and raised on St. John, said flowers have always been a passion of hers.

“Arranging flowers has always been a hobby for me, even before I did the clothing thing, I was into flowers,” she said. “If you notice all the displays in Sally’s Couture, there are always lots of flower arrangements throughout the store.”

Although Varlack admits she has not been dreaming of owning a flower shop for long, it is obvious she is no novice when it comes to blooms and stems.

“I love orchids and Gerber daisies, tulips, gladiolas, roses,” she rattled off. “I love them all — anything that is bright and colorful.”

This may be the inspiration behind the slogan Varlack created for her new shop, “Fresh flowers to color your dreams.”

With a little encouragement from friends and family, Varlack has high hopes for Bou-Quet, which will fill the island’s flower void from its convenient location across the way from Sally’s Couture and next to Pink Papaya.

“We will have the freshest, most creative designs on the island,” she said. “I have lots and lots of ideas.”

Bou-Quet, which will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays by appointment, will offer a flower delivery service to every one on the island — locals and visitors alike, Varlack said.

As the only flower shop operating on the island, Varlack said Bou-Quet will be able to accommodate just about every event, from weddings and banquets to dinners and “just because” arrangements.

“You need a flower, you just let me know,” she said.

Varlack will create all the designs herself with flowers shipped over from Roses Too and Roses Too East on St. Thomas.

“I also have to mention that I have a great inspiration, Felipe Ayala, Jr., who owns and manages Roses Too East,” Varlack said of her long-time friend. “He is one of my greatest inspirations and I also think he is the best floral designer.”

Even in the midst of a slow economy, Varlack remains fearless about starting her new business.

“Right now, I am too anxious to have any fears,” she said. “It is a slow economy, but flowers are something people will still buy — to say I love you, just because, to say congratulations or for sympathetic reasons. Flowers can say a lot.”

Varlack will be keeping herself busy between the two shops, but promises she will remain just as available to her loyal customers as her new ones.

“I don’t want my Sally’s Couture customers to think I am deserting them,” she said. “I’ll always be right here.”

Bou-Quet’s website is currently under construction but if you need to talk arrangements, you can reach Varlack at 774-7600.