A new flower shop provides Grandview with a touch of European style.

A new flower shop provides Grandview with a touch of European style.

Trace Kingham, president and CEO of Trace Ltd. Event Design Specialists, opened Fresh - Flowers & Events in December as a retail concept to go along with his event planning business.

Fresh - Flowers & Events is located at 1629 W. First Ave., next door to the Trace Ltd. offices.

"This is a natural progression for us," Kingham said. "It makes sense for us to be able to offer floral arrangements ourselves along with our event planning services."

The floral shop is based on the European concept of a "flower bucket shop," in which flowers are the centerpiece of the store's design.

"We want people to come into the store and be able to touch and smell the flowers," Kingham said.

Kingham has hired Cory Lonsert as the shop's floral designer and manager.

"We're really fortunate to have Cory on board," Kingham said. "I think he's an extraordinarily talented floral designer and he's bringing something different to the Columbus market."

Lonsert said he "grew up in the industry."

His mother still operates a flower shop in his hometown of Bellefontaine.

"As long back as I can remember, I was helping out in the store," Lonsert said. "I just loved working with flowers."

Named as Ohio State designer of the year in 2002 and inducted into the American Institute of Floral Design in 2003, Lonsert was selected to be part of the team that created the floral designs for the 2005 inauguration of George W. Bush.

"It was such an honor," he said. "When you get the opportunity to work at a presidential inauguration, you say yes as fast as you can."

Lonsert designed the floral arrangements for the Texas/Wyoming ball, held by the home states of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Two years ago, he competed and won the floral designer episode of the reality television series "Making It Big."

Shot and originally broadcast in Canada, the program aired last March on the Style Network.

In the competition, Lonsert and two other designers were given three days to create floral arrangements for a fancy dinner party.

"Making It Big" cameras followed the three competitors throughout the process.

"It was definitely real. I was incredibly nervous," Lonsert said. "I was sweating bullets" with cameras trained on him throughout the three days.

"It's a lot of pressure," he said.

As winner of the floral design episode, Lonsert was awarded a mentorship with the renowned event designer Preston Bailey, whose client list includes Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Uma Thurman, Liza Minnelli and Bill Cosby.

Lonsert's work was also featured in Flowers Magazine.

"Going on the show and winning the competition has really opened up a lot of doors for me," he said. "It's was an unbelievable experience."

Lonsert said he considers himself lucky "to get paid to walk through rose petals.

"I really enjoy the creativity of coming up with a design and the exploration of ideas," he said.

For Kingham, the best part of event planning is the reaction of guests when they enter the room.

"When people walk in and you see them gasp or say, 'oh wow,' that's what you're looking for," he said. "That's the reward."

afroman@thisweeknews.com