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Valentine's Season is in Bloom at Growing Wild

Jan 28, 2015 09:59PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Lee Hoven Bakos and Lisa Hoven Gallien outside Growing Wild in Manhattan Beach.

As the Valentine's Day season approaches, there's nowhere in downtown Manhattan Beach that's more colorful - or more fragrant - than Growing Wild, the iconic florist located at the corner of 12th and Highland.

"It's a busy time," said co-owner Lee Hoven Bakos as she and her twin sister, co-owner Lisa Hoven Gallien oversaw a stream of orders on a recent morning at the shop.

Bakos and Gallien have run Growing Wild in the same location for 24 years. They're known for their innovative designs in both fresh and silk mediums, as well as their in-home floral design services. And as one of the longest-running shops in the area, they've earned a devoted local following.

"We have clientele from all over the South Bay, plus we have a good deal of walk-in business - the store is so quaint," said Gallien. She added: "We've been fortunate to have a lot of regular customers who support us."

Growing Wild, which sources fresh flowers from all over the world, creates custom floral arrangements for gifts, home decor, and special events.

Among the store's popular Valentine's Day offerings are wooden heart wreaths (the "roses" are made from finely shaved pieces of red- or pink-colored wood, mounted on a wood frame); arrangements with roses, hydrangeas, calla lilies, and orchids; and special boxed Valentine's Day themed soaps.

In addition, the store has also launched a "Growing Wild Going Green" initiative, where the store uses recycled wooden and delivery boxes, and offers 5% off a future purchase if you bring in a vase from a previous purchase to recycle.

With the early-rising sisters at the helm, the store is buzzing at 8:00 a.m. when it opens (as much as two hours earlier than some of its neighbors) and the pace continues throughout the day.

But the sisters, who practically complete each other's sentences, describe working together as "very easy" in their nearly quarter-century of business together. "We're lucky to have each other," says Gallien.

Growing Wild is located at 1201 Highland Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. Phone: 310-545-4432.

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