feature story

it's a wonderful open house

As this annual holiday event at Everts Flowers, Home & Gifts approaches its 50th year, its owner shares the secrets to it longevity.

by Kelsey E. Smith

     Not every flower shop can boast a great corner location in a bustling downtown cultural district. But for Everts Flowers, Home & Gifts, a 10,000-square-foot store in America’s heartland, its prominent location, along with the business’s 87-year history, has helped establish name recognition among the residents of Ames, Iowa (population approximately 52,260) and its surrounding communities. The store’s custom fresh floral arrangements and large selection of permanent flowers, gifts and home decoratives entice customers to visit year-round. And the warm holiday mood its annual Christmas open house instills gives the store a magical quality that draws up to 2,000 customers in a single weekend and offers them an experience to remember and a reason to keep coming back.

     In fact, the Christmas season accounts for 25 percent to 30 percent of the shop’s average $625,000 annual sales volume. And despite plans to downscale this year’s holiday inventory by about 10 percent in anticipation of the recession affecting the way customers buy for Christmas, owners Brian and Gina Smith are confident that Everts will weather the coming season just as it has for so many other economic downturns throughout its history.

a golden tradition
     This year marks the 50th anniversary of Everts’ Christmas open house. It was started in 1959 by Peggy Harrison, who, at 80 years old, is the shop’s only full-time employee in addition to Mr. Smith. Ms. Harrison was the fourth owner of Everts, which opened in 1922. She managed the business for 16 years, then owned it for 25 years before selling it to the Smiths in February 1998.

... For the rest of the story, look to the July 2009 issue of Florists' Review.

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