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Bountiful Woman Spreads Joy With Artificial Flowers During Pandemic

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – The ongoing vaccine rollout and current COVID-19 case trends have opened doors for those once holed up inside their homes and for one woman that looks like a tent and shelves of artificial flowers on the side of the road in Bountiful.

The pop-up shop was never meant to last more than a few days. There is no expiration date for its products: handmade silk flower arrangements that Kathy Giles has been creating over the last year-plus.

“You don’t have to water it. And you don’t have to throw it away in three days because it lasts forever,” Giles said outside her R.V. and tent that she and her husband spent hours setting up earlier that week.

Their stockpile of flower arrangements got its start the way many things have these days – with a pandemic.

Giles said she “was trying to be real careful not to get [the virus].” For a time, she was only at home and “couldn’t even go to the store or anything because of my age.”

It was while she was stuck at home with her husband, attempting to adjust to this isolation that she decided, “rather than sit around I’ll do something with it.” She began creating all sorts of flower arrangements in every kind of pot, vase, and bowl you could think of.

“I’ve always loved flowers,” Giles said. “I can see something, just like a vase or something, and I can envision in my mind how it would look, and then I just start putting them together.”

Nearly every person who stopped to visit her shop on the side of the road heard her story.

“I’m like, I got to do something to keep busy. This is how I kept busy,” she told one potential customer, pointing to her shelves of creations.

As the pandemic dragged on, Giles’ creativity never let up. She admitted, “she didn’t know when to quit.”

“I didn’t know I was making this much but my husband says, ‘our whole bedroom is full. I want our bedroom back.’”

More than a year later, during a vaccine rollout and a downward trend in the COVID-19 case count, Giles is no longer in isolation. Like many Utahns, she is returning to normal and she has a lot to show for it.

Making money was never the goal of this pop-up shop. In fact, Giles did not have a price tag on any of her items. She told customers to take any of the small items for free. Other items she also freely gave. As for everything else, she asked the customer to make an offer.

“They’ll say, ‘how much is it?’ And I say, take it and give it to your grandmother or something. If she enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it then I’m happy as can be.”

“I’m more interested in seeing them love something,” she said. “I love it so I hope somebody else does too.”

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