Meet our March Business Donor of the Month, My Viola Floral Studio and owner Kari Johnson!
We are honored to recognize a small business in Great Falls for the month of March! Kari Johnson owns My Viola-Floral Studio located in downtown Great Falls. My Viola-Floral Studio has previously sponsored the GFC Legacy Foundation before and they host our flower cooler in the Great Falls Clinic Hospital. My Viola donates 25% of all flower sales from the cooler to the Foundation. My Viola was also a major sponsor of our #GivingTuesday event last year. My Viola has also supported other nonprofits in Great Falls, including the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art’s annual Art Auction for the past ten years; the MacLean Animal Foundation; The Children’s Museum; The Police Gala; and more!
My Viola-Floral Studio History
My Viola-Floral Studio was opened on December 1st, 2010. Originally located at 319 Central Avenue – where Electric City Coffee is today. My Viola rented for four years before outgrowing the space and purchasing their new building at 716 Central Avenue. They moved into their 716 location in November of 2014 allowing them their retail shop, class space, design room, and consultation area.
Kari’s first job as a florist was at Riverview Floral in Fort Benton, Montana. While working there, the owner Don Hazen, liked the planter combinations that Kari assembled and asked Kari if she was interested in floral design. Don took Kari under his wing, which then inspired her to later take a course through the Floral Design Institute in Portland, Oregon. Kari completed training and received a Certificate in Basic Floral Design. A few years later, she went back in-person to the Design Institute and completed training to become a Certified Wedding Florist.
Kari loved working at Riverview Floral, but the commute from Great Falls and back proved to be too much, especially in the wintertime. A year later, Kari started working at Sally’s Flowers when they were located in downtown Great Falls and worked there for five years delivering and designing flowers. She then went to Electric City Conservatory when it was purchased by the Flower Farm in 2003 and worked there for seven years. Kari was promoted to Assistant Manager and three years later she was promoted to manager. After her promotion to manager, she felt it was time to open her own business.
Kari first opened My Viola-Floral Studio in 2010. In the beginning, she only had one full-time employee and her mom to help her. Today My Viola has four full-time employees and one part-time employee. Kari shared one aspect of her job that she loved, “I love the social aspect of my job and getting to meet people from the community who come in to buy my flowers.” Kari also said that since opening her own business, she can set her own hours and has the freedom to decide what she would like to sell and create.
Kari is very passionate about designing flowers for people. Her favorite event to design for are weddings. Although she shares, the spark that keeps her love of floral design really going is how every day there is something new. “One week may start by filling business orders,” Kari shared, “Then there will be a shipment of flowers and then we will need to fill the cooler, or unpack new merchandise and set up displays. A family may come in for sympathy pieces that need to be created. And then, by the end of the week, there could be another wedding!”
My Viola-Flower Studio on Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!
Mom and Pop Business Owners Day is on Monday, March 29, 2021. We want to encourage you to support small businesses like My Viola-Floral Studio! You can find them at 716 Central Avenue in Great Falls, MT. Check out My Viola-Floral Studio on their website their Facebook or Instagram!