The Village Petaler

by Anna Grace Galkin

Though Jaklyn Cato has always exercised her creative side, she has recently delved into the world of flower arranging and is using her new floral business to enjoy the beauty of life’s transitions and establish family roots. 

Jacklyn grew up in Xenia, Ohio and eventually enrolled at Cedarville University. Having a knack for the arts, especially painting and drawing, Jacklyn took a photography class from university photographer, Scott Huck, which she would put to good use later in life. While studying communications, she grew to know and love Grayson Cato, whom she married in 2011 before graduating in 2012.  

The Catos soon moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where Grayson was a worship pastor and they became the parents to three boys. Jacklyn appreciated her church community as she waded through the season of increasing family responsibilities. 

Though very preoccupied with her energetic boys, Jacklyn still found time to stretch herself creatively outside the home by photographing weddings, selling individual photoshoots, and developing her hobby of arranging flowers. 

As her boys began to grow, she and her husband developed a desire to live close to family in Ohio. In early 2020 Jaklyn, Grayson, and their boys relocated back to Cedarville, Ohio. Jaklyn expressed that, after eight years of consistent relationship-building in Greenville, the task of forming a new community seemed refreshing and yet daunting. 

Grayson’s parents have provided a constant supply of emotional and practical support. They have housed Jaklyn’s family and her floral business while they wait for the finishing renovations of their future home. In addition to filling the role of loving grandparents, Jaklyn’s mother and father-in-law have helped Jaklyn develop her business. Jaklyn pointed to her home-made bouquet stand and elegant brand logo as products of her mother-in-law’s helpful collaboration.

Jaklyn photographs her own arrangements as she begins her business. [Photos provided by Jaklyn Cato]

Jacklyn said that there is a certain scariness in offering one’s own work to the public: “it’s a lot easier to promote someone else’s stuff than to promote myself.”

However, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and entrepreneurial uncertainties. Jaklyn’s floral business, branded “The Village Petaler,” has played an influential role in helping her meet the members of her new community, 

Though she enjoys taking all of her own photos and arranging the flowers much more than the book-keeping, Jaklyn is encouraged by her business’s progress. She regularly sells bouquets to the local coffee shop, Beans-n-Cream, and arranges multiple custom-made bouquets per week.

Jaklyn expressed her preference for arranging flowers over painting and drawing. Flower arranging fits her perfectionist tendencies better, she explained, because flowers do not need much for them to look good. Her love for the unique art was evident as she described the beauty in the way “a particular stem bends” and how particular color schemes work better than others. 

As Jacklyn’s life, like her flowers, is constantly rearranging, she has fought hard to maintain a balance between her home and work responsibilities. Looking forward to settling in her family’s new home and recently sending her oldest off to kindergarten has helped her realize that life probably will not stabilize for a while yet.  

Jaklyn’s dream to one day own a sustained family-run business is well on its way. But, in the meantime, Jaklyn is excited to figure out life’s changes one step at a time. She is enjoying the season she is in by loving her family and new community well and reaching out to more flower-loving clients. 

Anna Grace Galkin is a sophomore English Major, who tutors at the campus writing center and reports for Cedars. In her spare time, you can find her sipping an Earl Grey, passing a soccer ball, meeting new people, or off on an adventure with friends.

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