About Our Shop
Creativity is expressed through the eyes of floral designers. With varying backgrounds and passions, each designer brings their own expertise and aesthetic flair to your design.
Thistles Flower Market professional staff is dedicated to making your experience a pleasant one. That is why we always go the extra mile to make your floral gift perfect!
Lois Vermeer – Owner
To be able to bless the customers and recipients of Thistles’ floral designs is the goal Lois has for the shop. The creativity and atmosphere of the shop make it feel like home to customers and employees alike. Being able to serve customers in both the beautiful and thorny times of life with the joy of creativity is at the heart of Thistles Flower Market
Shirley Vermeer – Manager and Sympathy Expression Design Expert
Years of Experience: 22 years
Years at Thistles: 10 years
With a career spanning decades as a local Pella florist, Shirley has been blessed to walk through some of life’s most monumental moments with our clients. From the birth of a sweet baby to the passing of a remembered love one, she feels honored to be able to provide a service that conveys how much someone cares. “Flowers are so special because they show how much we care and love someone in a way that words don’t,” she said. Her love for floral artistry and home décor started young as she watched her dad lovingly tend to expansive gardens and flowers. After taking up her first job in the industry as a delivery driver, she quickly realized her talents and passion for creating arrangements for all of life’s special moments. Today, as our Manager, she specializes in Sympathy Expression Design and is in charge of ordering all of our giftware, home décor accents, and more.
Kristy Richardson – Personal Accent Expert and Graphics Artist
Years of Experience: 25 Years
Years at Thistles: 12 Years
If you ask Kristy about why flowers are her passion her eyes will light up and she will sweetly tell you the story of her Grandma. “I remember my Grandma having beautiful flower gardens. I spent so much time outside admiring them and the fish pond my Grandpa made for her. Thinking back now I can still tell you what flowers met the bank of the pond.” It’s no surprise that as an adult she continued to adore flowers and pursue a career in this industry. Taking inspiration from natural flower gardens, Kristy excels in garden style designs and loves everything colorful and anything orange! Throughout the years she has worked at flowers shops in Pella and owned her own flower shop in Sully serving their local community with her Mom. Although she notes that flowers are something that may be considered as frivolous, she says that nothing beats the feeling of giving the gift of flowers.
Maggie Milby, IMF – Thistles Wedding Coordinator
Years of Experience: 5 Years
Years at Thistles: 5 Years
A fourth generation gardener, Maggie’s passion for flowers is more than just a job. As a child, one of her earliest memories is visiting the local flower shop and taking a seat in the flower cooler, smelling all of the wonderful fragrances and enjoying each bloom. Her career in the floral industry didn’t start with designing. Like so many florists, her job started by scrubbing buckets and driving the store delivery van. As of now, Maggie currently serves on the Executive Board for the Iowa Florists’ Association (the youngest ever elected), is an accredited Iowa Master Florist, is a double major in Business Management and Marketing through online classes, contributes to floral education courses across the state of Iowa, and has consulted on education programs around the world. In 2015, 2016, and 2017 Maggie was selected to decorate Terrace Hill, the Governor’s Mansion, as well as the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s offices for the Holiday Season. “The greatest moments and some of my favorite floral arrangements come from getting to sit down with couples, learn about their story, and work little reflections of them into the flowers we choose. The brides I work with are one-of-a-kind and they deserve florals that match their individuality! There’s nothing like setting up a wedding, dimming the lights, and revealing the results to the bride—her face and reaction is why I do what I do—for the joy and blessings for all of life’s blooms.”
Nicole Nikkel – Permanent Botanical & Expressional Design Expert
Years of Experience: 21 Years
Years at Thistles: 4 Years
No two days are ever alike in the floral industry and the excitement in that, as a designer, is that you never know how you will get to help someone express their love and care for another. Nicole’s love for floristry began during her high school years where she taught crafting classes to children at a small town craft store. This passion led to a completed degree in Floriculture and little did she know this program would unlock her to a career full of rich fulfillment and enjoyment. Although she stepped away from her career at times to focus on her family and children, Nicole’s love for floristry kept drawing her back to continue her career. Today she pride’s herself on being able to perfectly design in a variety of technical and categorical styles with an emphasis on garden design and permanent botanicals. Her passion is working closely with customers to achieve the perfect arrangement that says, “Someone went out of their way to say you are special and loved!”
Larisa Kovalenko – Contemporary and Technical Design Expert
Years in the Industry: 17 Years
Years at Thistles: 2 Years
Larisa fell in love with flowers on the other side of the world, in Russia. As a small girl she spent countless hours gathering up flowers and exploring the outdoors. As she grew into a young adult she blended together her love for nature and gardening with her eye for contemporary and modern design styles and began to work for a local flower shop in Russia. “I have always enjoyed experimenting with different flowers and techniques. Flowers just say it best and with flowers there are so many ways to say and show God’s love for us.” After moving to the United States she continued to work in the floral industry, sharing her talents and gifts in various states. Today, Larisa executes modern, high style, and technically complicated designs while inspiring our staff to push their creative limits and continue to say it with flowers.