PROFILE: Leigh Chessher

December 24, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

BY OLIVIA CAMERON- Boca Blooms has made room for an additional member to join their team. Although she found herself switching roles, she’s happy to get to know the town from inside a quaint shop. Having only worked on the island for two months, Leigh Chessher has fallen for its charm.
Born in Guatemala, Leigh remembers only a small bit of her early childhood. She moved to Mexico for a brief period of time before claiming Granville, Ohio as her hometown.
“After my dad was offered a job in the states, we moved, so most of my childhood was spent in Ohio with my Honduran mom and British dad,” she said. “I don’t remember much of my childhood in Mexico, but I tend to miss my time in Columbus.”
After graduating from high school, Leigh took a leap of faith and moved to Miami with her boyfriend.
“It was one of those decisions that altered my life,” she said. “Miami was three times the size of my hometown, which made for an exciting change.”
Leigh worked in the hotel industry during her time on the other coast, but the pandemic changed her mindset. “Everything began to shut down, and our lease happened to end at the same time,” she said. “We were lucky enough to move when the city seemed to freeze.”
The pair were fortunate to relocate to Boca Grande. Leigh recalled riding her bike through the town and noticing the cute corner shop, Boca Blooms. Maybe it was the robin’s egg blue deck or the wall of birdhouses, but the store caught her eye. Little did she know she’d be working her first season at the counter each weekday. 
“I stumbled upon Boca Blooms and thought I’d just be picking out some flowers,” she said. Instead, she left with a job opportunity in mind.
She started off helping the florists with processing the flowers, cutting the ends of the stems, cleaning the flowers and preparing them for the florists. Then she was plucked from the back to help inside the shop, where she enjoys getting to know customers and sharing her passion for décor.
“No day is the same. If you’re constantly sitting at a desk doing the same thing every day, you become a robot. Instead, here you get to meet different people and hear everyone’s stories, because they all have one to tell.”
Leigh enjoys a career rooted in hospitality and customer service. She is driven to help locals create a perfect flower arrangement, garden décor or living room knick-knack. 
“It’s funny, when I was younger, I always considered it to be a dream to have my own flower shop,” she said.
The seasonal rush seems to have thrown itself onto the shops’ workload, which Leigh stated makes for good business. Their wreaths and holiday arrangements have flown off the shelves. Nothing says season’s greetings quite like watching festive arrangements get shipped out through December.
Leigh has adored working with Eric Hronowski and Terese Iammarino. “The team is such a lovely group of people to work with. They’ve been a great addition to my life. I get excited to come to work, which not a lot of people can say. Plus, Eric keeps me on my toes.”
Leigh is just as eager to carry out her responsibilities through the new year and aid the shop through the rest of a busy season.
The dogs of the island have since captivated her heart with their puppy eyes. She feels no day of work is complete without offering a pup a treat. Even when a customer tells her pups to stay put on the golf cart as she pops in the shop, one always follows behind for a snack. “I even joke about starting an Instagram for all the dogs that visit our shop,” she confessed. 
Leigh spends her free time on the island drawing or painting as a form of kinesthetic therapy. She looks forward to spending her summer at the shoreline soaking up some afternoon sun.
At a time like this, Leigh often thinks of her grandparents who currently reside in the UK. Her grandpa, an avid koi pond builder, got a pet bird to keep him company during quarantine. “His bird’s name his Patch,” Leigh said, “And it sings with him all of the time.”
As for her gran, she belongs to a walking club and has found the time to toy with baked goods recipes. “They’ve been keeping busy, but this year has been hard for all of us nonetheless,” she said.
Leigh claims she’s happy to be living in a tropical climate at this time of year. “I can be a baby when it comes to cold weather,” she said. “But I’d just rather be in the sun than the snow.”
Prior to the pandemic, Leigh’s days were engulfed in travel plans. She was able to visit her father, who currently works in Vietnam, and adored the country. Once it is safe to do so, she plans to travel outside of the states again and experience more of the world.
Boca Grande reflects a bit of Leigh’s hometown, making the island her new home away from home. Of course she misses the hustle and bustle of city life in Miami, but she’s never seen a town like this one. 
“When I came to Boca, I figured I would start doing the things I said I was going to do but never did, which I feel like a lot of people are doing now. You have to look at the positives to this negative situation. Just when no one saw it coming, everyone’s lives changed. So, why not look at it in a different light.”