By Christy Milliken
Leaf and Petal has been providing curb appeal to landscapes and adding touches of elegance to homes in Birmingham, Alabama, since 1974. In 2005, Taylor Pursell purchased the Mountain Brook, Alabama, shop that is managed today by his son Jamie Pursell. Two additional shops were added in 2007: in February, the location at the Summit in Birmingham and in October, the shop located at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Jamie states that the last decade has taught him much about growth beyond the blooms. He credits his team as being a vital part of that growth. He comments, “A couple of the employees have been here longer than I have!” Leaf and Petal still has some of the “root” employees who were part of the company before the Pursell family purchased it. The nostalgia of the shop is exemplified through each employee. A later addition to the team is the store manager, Mark Thompson, who joined the team in 2011. Mark has a background in interior design and offers a curated flow of items throughout each location. Mark explains, “I am a creative and tactile person, so I am a hands-on manager. I prefer leading by example.” He goes on to say, “Helping customers, whether it is for a joyful event or a more somber occasion, is the most rewarding part of my day.” The shop provides a chance to tell a story from beyond Birmingham. Both Mark and Jamie go to great lengths to provide healthy and beautiful plants and flowers, as well as products made by artists from all over the world. The brand has definitely developed a reputation for having unique gift items.
Jamie says, “This is the first time our customers will be able to experience a fully functional garden center, one that is designed to service our clients with ease, while adding a place that offers a little retreat.”
The plan is to keep all locations open to serve their very loyal customer base in each of those communities. Home, garden, and giving are the core themes of the business, and each space exudes that energy with the carefully selected inventory.
The service doesn’t stop the moment the client leaves the garden center. The design services are often evident in the window box plantings of a small suburban home where residents are about to welcome family and friends for a gathering, or in the perfected pruning of boxwoods or topiaries at a family estate, or in a bouquet carefully wrapped to commemorate a loved one who is no longer here. It can also be seen in the details of the arrangement on a holiday hearth or table, creating a sense of community and fellowship. Mark adds, “We become part of our customers’ stories. It’s this type of growth that ignites passion into the entire experience.”
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Growth beyond the petals can certainly be found at Leaf and Petal.