TLC Flower Box
The Flower Box
Flower shop makes use of space in old city hotel
by Bethany Bashioum, The Demoncrat Missourian,
Friday August 30, 2013
Operating a small, but dazzling flower shop on the first floor of the old City Hotel in Garden City is how 47-year-old Toni Conner is keeping her late mother's legacy alive.
Customers trickle through the shop, located at 105 N. Fourth St., to pick out colorful bouquets or delicate arrangements to give to loved ones.
Conner has no formal training in floristyr, botany, or horticulture, but has developed a passion of bringing smiles to the faces of others through the gesture of freshly-picked flowers.
It's also how she chooses to remember her mother, Janie Doll, since her death four years ago. "She just loved flowers," Conner said. her mother knew the name of about every flower in the book. She also had quite the flower garden in the family's yard for decades.
Conner said she and her mother had even once entertained the thought of owning a small business together. Now, even though Conner's mom is gone, her memory lives on.
In the past year, the Blairstown resident had become tired of working in the big city -- not to mention the long drive -- when she decided to purchase the 32-year-old southern Cass County shop, The Flower Box, from sisters Sharon Yoder and Linda Mueller.
"I worked for 28 years in the corporate world and wanted something totally different," Conner said. "I was ready for a change, I thought, "How can you not be happy being around flowers?"
Conner, whose (corporate) expertise is in human resources, actually approached Yoder, 70, about purchasing the buisness in December, 2012. "I cam in here and asked them if they were thinking of retiring," Conner said, "It sort of spiraled from there. They talked it over and decided they were ready, then they called me."
She began operating the business July 1. Yoder played an instrumental role in training her successor. She is still on call when it's a really busy day.
Conner's sister, Christy FUller, also has a hand in the business. Fuller conveniently works right across the street from the Flower Box, and ovgen visits over the lunch hour to help where she can. Conner had never owned a flower shop before, nor did she have any formal training, but neither had Yoder when she started the business.
The store was originally located in another building in downtown Garden City before moving to the hotel, a more visible location fo rthe business, in 1983. Yoder says the hotel, which was built by C.K. King, is about 125 years old. Original wood floors and woodwork are still intact. The hotel, whihc was conveniently located to where the old railroad ran through town, later became a bording house. It was then privately owned by a family before it was resotred and later occupied by the flowershop and areal estate office on the lower level.
"We liked the uniqueness and character of it," Yoder said. "It was the right spot for us at the time and itwas more visible than where we were to start with."
The Flower Box in Garden City has long been supported by a local funeral home, weddings, custom arrangements, as well as their ability to offer delivery services.
The shop's storefront also allows customers to drop in to pick up orders, or to browse in the showroom full of dozens of floral displays. Customers as far as Clinton also patronize the business.
It's surprising that this little town has kept us in business," Yoder said, "We didn't know anything about it back when we started 32 years ago, either." Conner credits Yoder's and Mueller's standard of quality to their longtime success. Now that Conner has been in the flower business for two months, she is sure her mother would be smiling. "Shw would have loved doing this," Conner said.
The shop is open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. More information about the store is available by visiting the shop's Facebook page, "TLC Flower Box, LLC."
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