The owners of the Vernon Flower Shop knew they were due to appear somewhere in Canadian Florist magazine. They had no idea it would be on the front cover.
Earlier in the year, one of the shop’s wholesalers referred the business to magazine editor Brandi Cowen, who interviewed Jake and Mary Spoor, owners of the shop since 1977.
The focus of the article was on the shop’s recent relocation to a building on 30th Street, just one block east of their former storefront. Along with the move came an opportunity to reinvigorate the business.
After the interview, Mary said she and Jake turned their attention back to the business, and thoughts of the article soon fell to the wayside. That is until the phone calls started.
“We were surprised,” said Mary. “We never got the magazine for a while, and then we were getting phone calls from Vancouver, from our wholesalers and other flower shops saying ‘Congratulations, you’re on the cover.’”
They are the first flower shop to grace the Ontario-based magazine’s cover since 2010.
With the Spoors approaching their retirement years (both are still extremely active in the business, and Jake is also general manager of the Upper Room Mission), their daughter, Melinda Jacott, has taken over as store manager.
Jacott is pleased to see the Vernon Flower Shop’s makeover recognized in an industry publication. She added that after more than 30 years, a new look was long overdue.
“Basically, we changed the wallpaper, but never really the layout,” said Jacott. “A lot of shops in Western Canada really don’t change.
“They (Canadian Florist) do stories on shops that are changing and doing modern things. They tend to stick to the east coast because there’s more things happening.”
The Spoors, who sold the old building to the City of Vernon, are thrilled with how well the move has been received. It has resulted in a noticeable increase in foot traffic. The single-level layout of the 1,200 square-foot shop also offers better options for product presentation.
“All credit is due to Mary and Melinda because I wanted to move to the other end of town. I didn’t realize it was that busy,” smiled Jake, adding the store layout allows be customer interaction.
“The designers are seeing the customers, and customers see the designers at work. They can talk directly to a designer, or see what they’re actually doing. It’s nice for the customer to see everything that’s going on in the place.”
But the move hasn’t been without its challenges. A lack of storage is the single biggest obstacle, said Jacott.
“We had three stories over there that we could use for storage. We had a huge room in the back for all the designers to hang out. Now we have two little storage rooms and my shed at home.
“We’ve really had to be careful what we buy for hard goods that we use a lot.”
And for those busy times of year – such as Christmas, Valentine’s and Mothers’ Day – it just means the flower shop looks more like a jungle.
“We just have really narrow paths and everything is stacked,” smiled Jacott. “When you walk in, it’s like a sea of flowers.”
Jacott said another bonus to moving to a smaller shop is that it forced them to purge a lot of dated inventory that had been collecting dust in storage.
“You accumulate a lot over 30 years. The funny thing is, a lot of stuff came back in style.
“We had candelabras we used to use 30 years ago. They were wrought iron so we took it to Venture (Training) and they used it for scrap metal and sold it for quite a bit.”