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For Marci Osburn, timing is everything.

A fog of uncertainty lingered as she traveled home from her 14th year at Camp Gizmo, a camp for youth with developmental disabilities and special needs. Her son, Mason, was disabled, and he'd be finishing school soon. She needed a position where she could care for him and work full time.

Exhausted, she placed her head on the steering wheel at a red light and looked out the window.

Then, she caught a glimpse of a literal - and metaphorical - sign on the corner of Main Street in Milton.

"I don't know what possessed me," Osburn said. "I picked up the phone and called."

Over the next two years, Osburn, her husband and friends brought Three Birds Floral and Boutique to life. The shop, located beside Heck Funeral Home, offers locally sourced artisan goods, a DIY succulent bar and a full, quirky floral department for all occasions.

After 20 years as a therapist, Osburn segued into a different form of caretaking, and it's not a responsibility she takes lightly.

"I'm learning about flowers and business at the same time, because when someone trusts you, you take it seriously," she said.

Three Birds' two employees, Meghan Fawcett and Leah Gore, help keep business thriving, Osburn said. Prior to working in the floral shop, Fawcett took care of Mason, Osburn's son, for several years. Gore, who attended Marshall University's School of Art and Design and studied abroad for culinary arts, also brings a robust set of skills and experiences to the table.

"With more weddings comes more creativity, and I needed others and their abilities to make us who we are," Osburn said. "I get to do wonderful things because I trust [Meghan and Leah] and we can venture out a little more."

With wedding season in full swing and high school formals on the horizon, Osburn said the shop is staying busy - and that's not including day-to-day orders for services and special occasions. Three Birds Floral and Boutique has also been a huge supporter of local fairs, festivals and community events since it opened.

"I want to be who we were when we started," Osburn said. "There is no middle man here, and we're not in competition with anyone but us."

Additionally, Osburn hosts special events, giving local artisans and representatives a chance to sell their products in her storefront. During the holidays, she hosts ornament-making workshops where attendees can learn about stress management and support others who may be coping with losses.

"Life has been full of challenges, and through it all, we've kept going," Osburn said. "It gets ugly sometimes, but you have to look at the big picture."

Osburn said her three children, or her "three birds," are the reason she created Three Birds Floral and Boutique. Having Mason with her full-time at the shop helps, too, she said. He has his own area where he can watch movies just feet from Osburn's workspace.

"It's for them," she said. "It's about teaching about what's to come and to be the one who asks them, 'Why are you waiting? Do it now.'"

In honor of her son, Mason, Osburn started the Mason Jar, an initiative that donates or discounts florals to someone in need, whether they're struggling with the loss of a loved one, a diagnosis or going through a rough patch.

"He's brought me so much joy," Osburn said. "I want to share that [with the community]."

Thanks to Mason, Osburn said her life has taken a series of unexpected, incredible turns that have led her to where she is today. From lobbying in Washington, D.C., on behalf of disabled individuals to working with the local special needs community and now owning her own floral business, it's all been part of the adventure.

"Serve and it comes back," Osburn said. "I was 41 when I bought this, and I turned 42 a month later. It was a leap of faith to start over [with a new career], but it's been an amazing ride. We're a year and a half in, and I know it's the best decision I've ever made."

Three Birds Floral and Boutique is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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