WILLMAR — Two hundred people in Willmar received an unexpected delivery Wednesday, a delivery of flowers.
Late Bloomers Floral and Gift of Willmar, taking part in the annual Petal it Forward campaign, gave out 200 bouquets of flowers to random people on Wednesday. Approximately 100 people received two bouquets, one to keep and one to pass along to someone else, hence the name — a play on words of pay it forward.
"We are spreading the happiness," said Gwen Krebsbach, owner of Late Bloomers. "Spreading the joy and happiness."
Delivery persons from Late Bloomers made several stops, including the Willmar Community Center, Bethesda, Lulu Beans and the Carris Health Cancer Center.
"I am really hoping to target people who have never gotten flowers before," Krebsbach said.
A national campaign by the Society of American Florists, Petal it Forward has existed since at least 2015, with florists in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Canada, participating. This is the first year Late Bloomers has taken part, joining florists in at least 410 other cities across the nation.
"It is a fun thing," Krebsbach said.
Also participating this year was Country Rose Floral and Gifts of Renville, owned by Patrica Broberg.
"This is our first year," Broberg said.
Country Rose is planning on giving 50 people two bouquets. Broberg said she had some people stop by Wednesday and she made a few deliveries in Renville. She expects she will still have some to give away Thursday.
"It might take us a few days to hand them all out," Broberg said.
Late Bloomers has been planning for Petal it Forward for several weeks. The flowers arrived Monday, and for nearly three days employees at the shop were putting together the bouquets. This included stuffing each one with a Petal it Forward flyer, a coupon and a list of upcoming events at the shop.
Broberg said she usually has a good supply of flowers on hand in her store, so there was no special order needed to take part in the event.
Krebsbach said it was the delivery drivers who have the best job, as they are the ones to see the reactions when people get flowers.
"The best job in the flower shop is delivery," Krebsbach said.
Late Bloomers and Country Rose both hope to participate in Petal it Forward in the future. Krebsbach loves the idea of being able to hand people flowers and see them smile and light up.
"The world can be so negative sometimes. I want to spread the happiness and joy," Krebsbach said.
Broberg said she loves the concept of the event.
"You get something to enjoy and you turn around give to someone else. Caring and sharing," Broberg said.