Sen. Ernst recognizes Traer’s Simply Blooming as Small Business of the Week

Floral shop continues to flourish, expand despite adversity

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, left, pictured last Saturday afternoon in downtown Traer with Simply Blooming owner Lisa Eikamp. Ernst recognized Simply Blooming as part of her work as the ranking member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. PHOTO BY JONATHAN MEYER

Lisa Eikamp planted her roots in the floral industry back in 2005, creating Simply Blooming. Throughout the next 18 years, her idea of a flower shop has grown and blossomed into a blooming small business — one now being recognized for much larger things.

On Saturday, Simply Blooming was recognized by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), as small business of the week. Ernst uses her role as Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee to travel around Iowa and recognize Iowa’s brightest small businesses. From river to river, Ernst plans to recognize a small business in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Senator Ernst arrived in Traer at 1 p.m., passing by the legendary Winding Stairs as she made her way to the flower and gift shop. Eikamp welcomed the Senator from southwest Iowa with a huge smile as the two greeted each other excitedly.

Ernst became familiar with Eikamp and her business back in 2020 while doing derecho damage surveys across the state.

“I had visited after the derecho. Lisa and her story was very compelling, it really struck a chord with me,” Ernst said. “Here we are years later. I’ve moved up in the small business committee. With being the ranking member, I have the opportunity to highlight Iowa businesses and give these awards. Lisa has gone above and beyond. She’s now opening in Vinton and serving 20 different communities around the area.”

Simply Blooming owner Lisa Eikamp, left, chats with U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) last Saturday afternoon in her downtown Traer shop. PHOTO BY JONATHAN MEYER

Ernst listed a plethora of positive characteristics of Simply Blooming, noting the creation of local jobs, retention of Iowans in rural communities, and being a female owned small business.

Not everything has been simple for Eikamp as her shop name might suggest. In 2015, Eikamp returned from a delivery run only to find a fire ravaging her shop. The fire was extinguished and Simply Blooming, while sustaining damage, was not destroyed.

Five years later, the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. Eikamp noted that her business stayed strong through the challenges that the pandemic caused, crediting strong local support that kept her shop up and running during the trying time.

As a result of the pandemic and other economic factors, inflation has soared in the United States, being felt by consumers everywhere.

“Prices do go up. Unfortunately, that affects the customers,” Eikamp said.

Traer Mayor Pete Holden, left, converses with U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Saturday, May 6, during the Senator’s official visit to the downtown Traer floral shop Simply Blooming. PHOTO BY JONATHAN MEYER

Through all these setbacks and troubles, Simply Blooming is still growing. Recently Eikamp expanded the business to a small location in Vinton.

“We outgrew that in minutes,” she said.

The need for more space led Eikamp to purchase a four story building (including the basement) in downtown Vinton. The new and expanded location will host a similar style flower and gift shop.

Eikamp described the use of the fourth floor as a possible Airbnb to rent out to travelers in the area. Ernst commented on the increasing popularity of Airbnbs in Iowa, saying they are great for travelers looking for affordable places to stay in rural Iowa.

The Vinton location was penciled for a soft launch on Monday, May 8.

“Hopefully in a week of two we’ll be up and rolling,” Eikamp said.

With the award in hand and a smile on her face, Lisa Eikamp continues her hard work at Simply Blooming. Stop in and support this blooming small business located in downtown Traer at 518 2nd St.