A new florist is moving in
Petal Shoppe’s roots run deep, since the construction in 1913 of Dollarway Road, which stretched from Pine Bluff to almost Little Rock. At the time, it was Arkansas’ first paved road.
When the concrete road was torn to make way for asphalt, a section of the old road was used for the construction of the walls of the original Petal Shoppe building at 5905 Dollarway Road in Pine Bluff.
“Literally it was built from the road,” current co-owner Jodie Jolly said of the building constructed in 1946.
Before Petal Shoppe Inc. opened in 1975, it was Miller’s Variety Store and Woods Dry Cleaners, circa 1947.
The flower shop was owned by Don and Martha Blasengame until 10 years ago when Jolly, her husband, Mike and Melody Contreras bought the flower business, keeping the name.
In addition, Shirley Brooks, an 83-year-old employee, remained with the company. Brooks continues to work for the new owners and Jolly said, “She works everyday. She’s amazing.”
Recently, Walgreens made homeowners an offer they couldn’t refuse. The old building is already down and a Walgreens is going up there, according to the owners of Petal Shoppe.
As word spread of their impending move, Jolly said people were calling, many crying, begging them to keep the building intact.
Jolly said: “It was so old” but basically they had grown too big for the location.
They were able to set up about a half mile from their location at Pine Bluff.
The owners hosted a grand opening at the new store about four weeks ago. He now has an address at White Hall, 7710 Dollarway Road.
But some things stay the same. For example, they kept the now 40-year-old phone number, (870) 247-2206, and found a place for the original “The Petal Shoppe Flowers and Gifts” sign inside their new boutique. .
CONTINUE A TRADITION
Jolly loved crafts and paper dolls as a child. These days, she enjoys decorating homes for any holiday as well as Christmas. She added: “I love weddings.”
Contreras specializes in gift wrapping, a talent that comes in handy in a flower shop and during the holidays. She said she would like to have an entire section devoted to gift wrapping.
The two have been “best friends” since the age of four, and the two, along with plant-loving Mike Jolly, are the perfect mix of talent.
This is a traditional flower shop, specializing in a wide variety of seasonal bouquets, corsages, plants, weddings and funerals.
Weddings allow staff to be creative.
“You can go anywhere and buy flowers, but our focus is on customer service and we have arrangements (and plants) that aren’t available at the grocery store,” Jolly said.
In addition, she said, “the right people are essential to our success.”
Amber Bates, the store manager, “knows all things floral and can be trusted. She’s phenomenal,” Jolly said.
Brooks is good at plants and “our corsage guru,” while longtime employee Liz Jefferies “is good at funeral sprays, and Tricia Cothran makes beautiful bouquets.”
Owners appreciate the skills and dedication of their employees to their trade.
“The work is demanding and the hours can be long”, especially during the holidays which are not limited to Thanksgiving and Christmas, but continue for months until Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Moreover.
“You don’t stop because you’re tired, but because the job is done,” Jolly said of the hours which often extend into the late night.
Of particular importance to owners is that they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to attend to any funeral needs.
“We never refuse funeral work, no matter the day. We consider it a public service,” Jolly said.
The owners invite everyone to take a tour of their new boutique with a nod to the past.