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Whether you drive or walk by Amy McLaughlin Flowers in downtown Newburyport, you’re likely to be stopped in your tracks. The building’s historic brick façade is charming enough, but the showstopper is the shop’s flower cart façade, an artfully presented drive-up floral space set up on the sidewalk. 

Photographs by Alison Ebacher

It’s clear this shop knows flowers, so much so that it’s hard to believe this business only fully turned its focus to florals in September of last year. Prior to becoming a full-service flower operation, Amy McLaughlin Lifestyles was a bustling event planning and floral business. With each wedding she executed (over 500 of them), owner Amy McLaughlin kept circling back to the flowers. It was this love for florals that served as the impetus for her to transform her business into a full-fledged, luxury floral shop. As McLaughlin puts it, “I’m still pinching myself that I get to wake up and create with a medium that conveys someone’s true sentiments to the recipient of our flowers. Whether it’s ‘I love you,’ ‘I’m sorry’ or to celebrate a special occasion, the intent of the message is to bring joy. Who wouldn’t want to create and deliver joy for a living?” The look and feel of McLaughlin’s flowers are elegant and classic. Each arrangement carries a signature, high-end design that is unmistakably Amy McLaughlin. 

Photographs by Alison Ebacher

The shop’s commitment to quality and creativity is evident everywhere you look. From the storefront itself, which is a blend of sophistication and opulence, to the flowers McLaughlin selects, no detail is too small. From proper refrigeration to how to keep flowers fresh, to selecting top-quality florals, to not using “filler flowers,” McLaughlin personally oversees every arrangement that leaves the shop. “There are a few ground rules that I set for myself from the get-go, certain flowers that would never make their way into our arrangements: baby’s breath, Gerber daisies, and mums (with a few seasonal exceptions) topped the list. Greens would also need to be high-end so we mainly stick to lemon leaves, eucalyptus, and Italian ruscus with fresh herbs such as mint or rosemary mixed in.”

The drive-up flower shop was the perfect solution to both necessity and marketing; McLaughlin wanted to let people know the shop was open to the public and also wanted a way for customers to quickly buy flowers during the colder weather months (when both parking and tolerance of colder temperatures can be hard to come by). The shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to  6:30 p.m. weekdays, convenient hours for customers heading to and from work. The shop is also open on weekends. 

Photographs by Alison Ebacher

With the outside floral shop up and running, McLaughlin continued to think about ways to make her business stand out, keeping in mind the importance of making the flower purchasing process as hassle free as possible. In addition to clients placing one-time orders, the Flower Club is a subscription service that allows members to select weekly, biweekly or monthly fresh flower deliveries right to their doorstep. The shop also offers a membership option where clients select floral arrangements to be delivered four times a year on the special occasion or holiday of their choosing. This service can be set up for an entire year, taking the legwork out of ensuring a loved one receives fresh flowers on a special day.

With same-day local delivery on the North Shore, the possibilities for an Amy McLaughlin Flowers client are endless. From sympathy to get well arrangements to “welcome baby” flowers (the shop will deliver to Anna Jaques Hospital once the pandemic subsides) to curated gift boxes paired with flowers, there’s something for everyone in your life.