Susan Hayes (front) with current Armstrong Flower and Gift Shoppe owner Alana Brookes and past owners Kelli Muskett and Cobie Taguchi. Hayes is retiring after 23 years at the Armstrong shop in September 2020. (Contributed)

Armstrong flower shop says goodbye to beloved florist

Susan Hayes is retiring after 23 years at the Armstrong Flower and Gift Shoppe

After 23 years of creating touching and tasteful arrangements at the Armstrong Flower and Gift Shoppe, Susan Hayes is hanging up her snips.

The shop with more than four decades of operation has seen a number of changes in ownership over the years. The owners past and present credit the shop’s retiring senior floral designer as a well of knowledge and a guiding presence that’s continually helped the business bloom.

Hayes began her floral career while living in Vancouver at the age of 16. Upon moving to Armstrong, she joined the Flower Shoppe when it was owned by Cobie Taguchi, and the artistry and creativity she brought to the job helped train many florists over the years.

After 13 years under Taguchi’s ownership, the shop was sold to Kelli Muskett who owned it until 2016. Muskett had no prior experience in the floral industry at the time, and says she never could have done it without Hayes’ help.

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“Susan has a natural ability to know exactly what is needed to convey the required sentiment in her gorgeous arrangements and tasteful tributes,” said Kelli Muskett, a former owner of the flower shop. “She regularly amazed us and the customer with the end results.”

When Muskett sold the shop to current owner Alana Brookes, she too had no previous experience in the industry — and Hayes’ knowledge and care once again proved instrumental to the shop’s ongoing success.

The Armstrong Flower and Gift Shoppe is now in it’s 41st year of serving the community’s floral needs, and continues to evolve into a destination shop for unique and quality giftware under Brookes’ vision and ownership.

It won’t be quite the same without Hayes, whose presence uplifted her colleagues and customers in myriad ways.

“We have all been blessed by her knowledge, creativity, dedication, love and humour that she brought in our doors each and every day,” Muskett said.

In her retirement, Hayes looks forward to spending more time with her family and camping with her husband. She names Gerbera Daisies and Green Hydrangea as her favourite flowers. Look for them at the shop at 3105 Smith Drive, Armstrong, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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