April (Zinn) Junge has always viewed life through a lens of artistic creativity! While her sister Holly creates masterpieces through paint and paper, April’s art is found in her flowers and how she puts together beautiful floral arrangements.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always enjoyed flowers and their different textures – how they all work and intermingle together,” April shared. “You will find my art in my flowers!”
These beautiful floral masterpieces are showcased throughout April’s flower shop, Hometown Florals, in downtown Lake Park. The building across the street from the post office was completely renovated in 2022, with Junge officially opening its doors in time for Christmas.
“Much of the renovations were compliments of Shelley (Morris) and my husband Heath (H. Junge Construction). They both love to renovate beautiful buildings, and there were so many unique features about this space they were able to keep, while bringing in lots of new elements,” she said.
Morris suggested removing the awning and enlarging the windows, which created more open space and added more lighting to the room.
“A lot of the history in the building was covered, so it was my mission to update but also restore what we could of the history in the building,” Morris shared. “The original tall windows were covered by an ugly canopy and tin. We put new windows in, but back to the original dimensions of the drug store from years ago. We have great old buildings in Lake Park that I hope we as a community can continue to revitalize.”
Algona Glass Company put in the windows and created the framing, which April was appreciative of their quality work.
“Each frame is hand built and hand bent. They did such an awesome job,” she said.
Previously, the building was home to a craft store, several bars and what was once Riley Pharmacy.
“It was Cathy Thee’s father’s drug store back in the day!” April added. “We kept the back wooden bar and much of the original ceiling, just fixing the middle section.”
The good tiles were moved to the outside and they added new tiles to the middle.
“At some points, it was like playing tetras on the ceiling,” she said with a laugh. “I thought about painting the ceiling a creamy white but then saw the black at Blurry Bigfoot and now love the darker ceiling.”
The outside walls that feature wall hangings, shelves filled with plants and other gift items were painted a light gray, offsetting the variety of other colors in the room.
Fulfilling a Dream
April has grown up creating flower arrangements, first starting at Hy-Vee Floral Department during high school and continued learning floral design throughout college.
“Growing up on the farm, I’ve always enjoyed playing in the dirt. Then at Hy-Vee, I was able to learn a lot while working in the floral department and appreciated the different holiday times,” she shared. “I moved to Fort Dodge when I was in college, transferring to Fort Dodge’s Hy-Vee Floral Department. I learned so much from Sherrie about flowers and arrangements.”
Fast forward several years, after Lake Park’s floral store closed down in 2021, April wanted to continue to provide floral services to the community. First working out of her home, she created floral arrangements and showcased them on social media. In October 2021, she opened her first store in the corner of Stan’s Corner, Lake Park’s gas station on the north side of town.
“I needed a year to get my name out there and the space was perfect for that,” April said. "Then my name, 'Hometown Florals' came from me being a Hometown Lake Park graduate."
In fall 2022, she moved her shop into what had been Blurry Bigfoot’s Coffee Shop. This gave her room to expand before officially moving into her own building across the street the week before Christmas.
Shelley and Paige were glad to provide space. “We were so glad to help,” he said. “We have a lot of new, young business owners like April in our town and I think the best is yet to come.”
One of April’s favorite flowers is the Gerbera Daisy, which she said isn’t easy to work with but it’s a flower she loves. She tries to bring in a wide variety of unique and creative flowers to build arrangements, using local wholesalers out of Sioux Falls or a traveling floral truck out of Wisconsin. During the summer, April also enjoys shopping local and purchasing flowers from Little Sioux Stems near Milford.
“I love to shop local and get beautiful sunflowers or cut flowers from Jen, but with my other resources, I can get flowers all year long, which allows me to serve everyone’s needs whether it’s just because, a wedding or a funeral,” April said.
When putting together an arrangement, she always cuts the biggest focal flowers first. Piece by piece she adds different flowers and colors. At the end, spillers and thrillers are added to create a beautiful masterpiece.
“Whatever I design, I want it always to be uniquely mine – not someone else’s,” April said.
Hometown Florals also showcases a variety of house plants, varying in size and type depending on the season. Her goal is to have more unique plants in the store than the typical options. They range in size from 6 to 10-inch pots. In spring and summer, she will offer a variety of garden and outdoor flowers for sale.
Different sympathy needs like lanterns, wind chimes, stones and benches are available to purchase, as well as silks, home decorative items and a baby and kid toy line.
“My desire is to continually grow the products I offer to the community,” she added.
April is available for all floral arrangements for funerals and weddings and her delivery area is the entire Iowa Great Lakes area, while also venturing towards Ocheyedan and into Minnesota.
She is available to send flowers all over the United States through the florist to florist network and can be contacted at (319) 444-6834, firstname.lastname@example.org or via her Facebook page. Floral arrangements can be purchased from her website hometownflorallakepark.com.
Her hours vary depending on the day, as she’s also a mom to a 5, 4, 3, and a one-year-old. Normally, she’s open Monday and Thursday 10a-5p, Wednesday evenings, and Saturday 9a-3p. She can be reached by phone at any time and appointments can also be made.
The grand opening for the new store will be the weekend of April 15, so watch her FB page for more details. She will also be providing floral arrangements for Brittleigh’s and Dawn’s Dance Connections Spring Dance Recitals.
“I’m so thankful for my husband’s support, as well as Shelly and Paige. I’m so thankful for them and how they’ve helped me realize my dream,” April said. “I love bringing a smile to someone’s face with a beautiful bouquet!”