Welcome to Country Blooms & Co, located in the heart of Estacada, Oregon!
About the Owner
My name is Aubrey Frank (maiden name is van Houte), and I am a born & raised Oregonian. I graduated from Sandy High School in 2016, which is where I developed a love for music (band class is where met the love of my life, but we'll get to our love story!). My whole life I believed I was going to be a professional musician, which is why I was originally going to go to school for music. However, my direction in life changed and I decided that I wanted to enlist! Shortly after graduation, I shipped off to basic training for the U.S. Navy, and I went on to be an Arabic Linguist after training for two years at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California, which was easily the hardest thing I've ever had to go through. Upon graduating from DLI, I was stationed at Fort Gordon near Augusta, Georgia for three years. We absolutely loved our life in Georgia, but all of our family is back here in Estacada and the surrounding areas. So here we are again as of July 2021!
Pictured: Me in uniform shortly after advancing to Petty Officer Second Class (E-5)
How I Got Here
In May 2019, I was in a car accident that ultimately ended my Naval career. I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from the accident, which resulted in my losing the majority of my foreign language capability. I was desperate to try relearning my Arabic, but after months of trying to get it back, I unfortunately lost my linguist position and was transferred to a job in administration while I underwent a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB). During the following two years of my recovery and MEB process, I went through a lot of adjustments trying to get my life back. While a part of me was lost to the accident, I had so many people supporting me to try to find a new path in my life just in case my time in the Navy had to come to an end. In March 2021, the MEB determined that I was no longer fit for duty, and that they would be medically retiring me from the service at some point in the near future. July 16th, 2021 was my last day in uniform, and July 28th was my last day in the Navy. I had no clue what I wanted to do once I was a civilian again. I knew after my TBI that going back to school wasn't an option, and I kind of felt lost as to what my options were. But when I saw the flower shop back home went up for sale, I felt called to taking it over! September 1st, 2021 I officially opened up Country Blooms & Co in Downtown Estacada! I've never had any experience in the floral industry whatsoever, but I didn't let that stop me from building my business. The community has been so supportive, and my business is thriving! I specialize in weddings and special events now, but I also love the everyday arrangements I get to put together throughout the week. I've always loved the opportunity to serve people, and I'm so grateful that this job gives me just that!
Pictured: Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for my Grand Opening December 17th, 2021
Our Love Story
My husband, Michael, and I met as freshman at Sandy High School (SHS). We were two out of only three freshman in the senior band, so we had to stick together! Michael was a percussionist and I was a flute player. We became close friends throughout the years, and I thought that was all we would ever be until Michael confessed he had feelings for me the summer between junior and senior year. We started dating the third day of our senior year! He is the only person I have ever dated, but here we are seven years later!
Pictured: Our 1st Dating Anniversary August 2016
After we graduated from SHS, Michael started going to school at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), and I left for boot camp three days before our first anniversary. He wrote me letters every single day, and I wrote him whenever I could. He flew with my family to Illinois for my boot camp graduation a couple of months later! While I lived in Monterey, he lived at home while going to school so that he could afford to visit me. Once a month, he would skip school on Friday and drive 12 hours straight until he got to me. He stayed the weekend near my base and we went out during my liberty hours and explored the area. Then Sunday afternoon he would start his 12 hour drive back, get to the MHCC parking lot around 4 in the morning on Monday, nap in his car for a couple of hours, and then go to his 7 AM class. Whenever we could, we would have "Skype Dates" and watch movies and TV shows together through the screen. But once I moved to Georgia after a couple years and he transferred to the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, we weren't able to see each other as often. We would have to go 3-6 months before we got to see each other again. Skype was our saving grace through the distance.
June 21st, 2019, shortly after my car accident, Michael proposed by surprising me in my apartment in Georgia. He and my roommate at the time coordinated everything while I was at work, and when I came home, I followed the rose petals to where Michael was on one knee with a ring. He asked me to spend the rest of my life with him, and of course I said yes!
Pictured: Michael & I after he proposed June 2019
March 21st, 2020 we finally got married at the Pointes West Army Resort in Georgia! Now THAT was a stressful time. The Wednesday before our wedding, COVID-19 came into our area and shut everything down. I'd begged and pleaded with our venue to stay open since our families were travelling from out of state to stay there, and they agreed to let it happen even though they weren't supposed to. Of the 125 guests we were supposed to have there, only about 25 made it. It was a beautiful day regardless! Ultimately, I got to marry my best friend with our closest family and friends.
Pictured: Michael & I on our wedding day March 2020
Michael had to return back to Oregon for school since we got married during his Spring Break, but then at the end of April his school shut down in-person classes. So he drove across the country with everything he owned in his Jeep, and he lived with me through August! My cat, Fallyn, was so excited to have another person there to love on her!
Fallyn wasn't very excited when we brought our new kitten, Creole, into our home. That was definitely an adjustment!
In July, I surprised Michael (and our cats, as it turns out) by going to the shelter and bringing our dog, Buck, home... so when Michael came home from our church after a long day of Summer Camp, there was suddenly a dog there! Buck has been nothing but a loving and loyal companion since the day we brought him home.
Michael had to return to Oregon for in-person classes that September. The long-distance was different that time; it was so much harder for both of us after finally getting used to being together for a few months. Buck had to have heartworm treatment (he's heartworm-free now, praise the Lord!), and then Fallyn got so stressed about all the changes that she developed PICA. I now suddenly had two medically-needy animals that I had to take care of without Michael. December 1st, 2020 Michael finished school and came back to Georgia with his hard-earned Mechanical Engineering Degree, and our long-distance relationship was finally a thing of the past. In May 2021, we brought our puppy Finn home! We went from one to four animals within a year! We have such a heart for rescuing that we couldn't resist.
In July 2021, we sold my house that I bought for us a week after we got engaged, and we started our move across the country. We now live in a trailer with all four of our fur babies on my parents' property in Estacada! Michael works out in Molalla as a Manufacturing Engineer, and we run Country Blooms & Co. together. We don't have children yet, but we hope to start a family in a few years!
What's to Come
My dream is to grow Country Blooms & Co. (CB&C) into something bigger and better once we have the means to do so! My goal is to stay in Estacada, since this is where it all began with Barbara's Flowers decades ago.
My mom, Christina van Houte, is the owner of a local Estacada bakery called Christina's Creations. We team up a lot for weddings and special events! I absolutely cherish the time I get to spend with my sweet momma. And I love that we get to work together and watch each other's businesses flourish! Once I expand CB&C, and outgrow the storefront that I am currently in, my hope is to have a space that is capable of having my mom's business turn into a storefront as well. I also am considering a tearoom addition, but I haven't quite ventured into planning all of that! Baby steps!
I am a travelling florist, so I would love to take my business on the road (or on a plane *wink*)! In fact, I will be travelling all the way to Savannah, Georgia for a wedding in June 2023. I could not be more thrilled about the opportunity to travel for my work! Maybe one day I can take my business internationally!
Some of you may not know, I also have a passion for interior design. So I have also added home decor items to my storefront! I would absolutely love to expand that aspect of my business as well. Michael and I have so many things in the works that we can't wait to share with you all!
Thank You for Being Here!
I absolutely would not be here without your support!