yuletide celebration
Jefferson's honors tradition while positioning itself for future holiday growth during the business's annual Christmas open house.

Jefferson’s occupies 6,500 square feet inside the former Blount Harvey department store building, which stood vacant for two decades before the Glenn family restored it. Several other businesses rent space within the 23,000-square-foot building, including Signature Jordan Interior Design (on the mezzanine in this photo), which overlooks Jefferson’s and often uses the florist’s products in its decorating jobs.

Representing three generations, from left, are Ed and Linda “Jef” Glenn; Graham Jefferson, who started Jefferson’s in 1948 and will celebrate his 90th birthday this year; and Kathryn (who works in the import division of New Growth Designs), Michael and Taylor. Jake, the canine companion, serves as the official store greeter.

An evening view of Jefferson’s offers a festive display. Nine-foot-tall custom-made toy soldiers stand guard around the building.

by Kelsey E. Smith

Located in a former department store building that stood vacant for 20 years before Ed and Linda “Jef” Glenn purchased it, Jefferson’s, in Greenville, N.C., is a destination for custom floral designs, permanent botanicals, Christmas decorations and more. The business occupies approximately 6,500 square feet—more than one-fourth of the 23,000-square-foot building—and is joined by several tenants including a wine store and bar, a hair salon, an interior design company, a jewelry store, a day spa and a banquet hall. To say there’s a lot happening under one roof would be an understatement, particularly on the last Sunday in November, when as many as 750 people visit Jefferson’s for the business’s bustling annual Christmas open house.

setting a jolly mood
Although many shops have their open houses at the beginning of November, or even earlier, the Glenns share that, in downtown Greenville, tradition trumps early holiday shopping. The business’s Christmas open house takes place each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and kicks off the only month during which the shop is open on Sundays.

“We tried having it earlier a couple of times, but it just didn’t feel right,” Jef explains. “It felt too early and like we were falling into the abyss of having Christmas product out in September like the big-box stores. You sort of gloss over fall that way. Having the open house after Thanksgiving is a better fit for us. It stirs anticipation, makes it more special and starts off the season with a bang.”

The event typically begins at 1 p.m. and runs until around 6 p.m., and the other businesses in the building take part as well. “Everyone opens their doors, and we encourage people to explore the building and walk around upstairs and down,” says Michael Glenn, Ed and Jef’s son and the business’s third-generation co-owner. “The interior designer that occupies space here has a portion of the balcony that overlooks our main sales floor, and the hair salon also overlooks our space, so being up there is a neat way to get a bird’s-eye view of everything happening at Jefferson’s.”

Traditional holiday hues of red, green, silver and gold dominate Jefferson’s Christmastime offerings though Michael shares that trees throughout the store showcase ornaments and other decorations that reflect current color trends, such as jewel tones.

“Our store really lends itself to traditional Christmas décor,” he relates. “Magnolia wreaths and red velvet ribbon ... that’s what speaks to our customer base, but we pay attention to trends and offer a more contemporary presentation as well. We’re traditional but not outdated.” ■

Read more in the July 2012 issue of Florists' Review.

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