Archive for Thursday, February 14, 2002

Turning over a new leaf

Broers Flower Shop settles into new building as busiest season of year hits

February 14, 2002

The boxes of roses ready for placement in Valentine's Day bouquets aren't the only boxes lying around Broers Flower Shop these days.

By the end of 2001, the shop had moved from its location at 704 Main St. to 714 Main Street, where Quilting Bits and Pieces had been.

Besides making for some hectic rearranging, especially during the busy Valentine's Day season, the move also meant adding about twice as much floor space, said owner Sharon Reynolds.

"They're really pleased," she said of the customers who have seen the new store. "A lot of the stuff we haven't been able to show is out. Now with the wall we have room to get everything displayed."

The stuffed animals and other plush toys, many of which were once stored in boxes, now have a place on the wide-open shelves and walls. And this time of year, many of them are red and white with heart motifs. The new merchandise includes more choices for balloons and other Valentine's Day gifts that make the holiday the store's busiest season of the year.

"We actually do more than a regular month's business in two days," Reynolds said.

With deliveries beginning about 8 a.m. and ending at about 6 p.m., keeping up with the holiday orders can be hectic.

"We have a lot of new staff who've never been through Valentines' Day," Reynolds said.

The store is equipped with a larger, better-lit cooler where customers can see the flowers, and the store's new merchandise includes work from two area artists. Gary Filkins, a Topeka artist whose prints of wildlife paintings are new at Broers, will be on hand to sign his works when the flower shop has its official grand re-opening in early April, Reynolds said. Reynolds' sister is the other artist now featured in the shop. Zona's products include traditional etched items like personalized glassware as well as computerized etching on tile and jigsaw puzzles, like the one personalized with a photograph of Reynolds' grandson that she keeps on display.

The store also displays an example of the tile work Zona's can produce four antique-looking squares of tile decorated with a photograph of the two 1880s buildings that comprise the store today.

Although the front rooms may have fluorescent lights, false ceilings and carpet, the storage areas reveal the buildings' original looks and the once-distinct separation between the two buildings. Reynolds points out an original beam supported by a limestone slab, even though modern-day concrete covers the rest of the floor.

"I think that is so cool," she said.

Built into the side of a hill, the cool, dark storage area can serve as kind of a second cooler, Reynolds said, especially during the Valentine's Day season when roses demand much of the store's cooler space.

The south side of the building includes a window and rear exterior door, once boarded up. When the weather gets nicer, Reynolds said Broers will use the rear outdoor area to display flowering plants that don't fare well indoors. The store's rear indoor area will carry outdoor and garden items once part of Seasons, the store formerly at 724 Main St.

"We'll be able to do that all under one roof," Reynolds said.

After the store gets through Valentine's Day, Reynolds said she'd be able to finish sprucing up the new store the way she wanted it.

"We want to do more paint treatments and clean up a little," she said.

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