Gebhart’s Floral Barn and Greenhouse in Warren, Indiana, has been in business for 22 years.
Kari Heim, who grew up in the area, worked at the flower shop and greenhouse in middle school and high school. Then when she moved back to town with her husband Joshua after college, the shop was up for sale, and the couple mused about buying it.
“It was always kind of a joke between us,” Kari says.
Five years ago, that joke became a reality when the Heim’s decided to invest in their small town and reinvent the flower shop as a business of their own.
Today, the property at 2593 E. 1000 S. in Huntington County is known as Gebhart’s Floral Barn and Greenhouse LLC and JH Pottery Works—the combined vision of the couple, bringing their creative talents in flower arranging and pottery together.
Kari and Joshua Heim's business in Warren brings their creative talents in flowers and pottery together.
As a florist, Kari oversees the shop’s professional flower arrangements, making sure that both of their full-production greenhouses are fully stocked with annuals and ready for the busy summer season.
When it comes to deliveries, that’s Joshua’s department. Because Gebhart’s is part of the Teleflora online flower company, they have a steady stream of telephone and online orders that need to be filled for all sorts of events nationwide, ranging from weddings to funerals, to anniversaries, and more.
“We cover many aspects of life (to which) people have strong emotional attachments,” Joshua says. “We’re blessed and honored (to be part of these events).”
Flowers are in season at Gebhart’s Floral Barn and Greenhouse.
Loading up a Honda Element van, he helps the arrangements safely arrive wherever they are addressed, but this isn’t his only job. His business, JH Pottery Works, opened three years ago, creating custom pottery for the shop and offering clay studio classes.
A self-described “military kid who lived lots of places,” Joshua was always involved in the arts growing up. While his family was in Pennsylvania, he learned firsthand from pottery experts there and decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in ceramics.
“I enjoyed the teaching aspect more than doing art shows on weekends,” he says, citing his experiences with two class-based pottery studios.
While he was in college at Taylor University in Indiana, he met Kari, and they married. Now that they’ve made their home in Warren, his creative vision is coming to life.
As a newcomer to the area, he appreciates the acceptance he has found in northeast Indiana as an artist.
“This was really foreign to me, being in a place where people go to high school and (want to return home after college),” Joshua says. “They were a little shy of an art major that makes pottery when I first arrived, but now they say, ‘We can’t imagine not having you here.’”
The Heim family is making their home in Warren, Indiana.
With his own studio just steps away from the Floral Barn, he has seven pottery wheels for hosting classes, in addition to making his own items, like special holiday mugs.
“I’ll go and do demos at local universities and high schools if asked,” he says.
His studio classes range from one-time events to six-week courses. He does wholesale orders and special orders for events like weddings, too.
While Joshua’s clay work is displayed in the Floral Barn, he also does custom work, like special-order coffee mugs. When he’s designing these one-of-a-kind pieces, he works with customers to determine their exact needs in size, shape, and function down to how many cups of coffee they drink.
“I really try to get to the root of the person to see what they really need,” he explains.
Over the years, the Heims have found that while meeting the needs of their community is sometimes a matter of donating money or designing the right products, other times it happens in smaller ways.
Recently, Kari found that some of her cut flowers were “past their prime,” but still too good to throw away. As a result, she took them to the local retirement community for residents to create their own flower arrangements.
It’s these types of personal connections that make the Heims’ work in Warren meaningful to them, and with three young children, they are intent on cultivating their business right where they are.
“This is a really awesome community,” Kari says. “Everybody is very welcoming. Lots of exciting things are happening, and we want to be part of them.”