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Flower shop celebrates 75th anniversary

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Latest

One of the oldest businesses in Wylie is getting ready to celebrate its 75th anniversary — one of three recognized this year.

Wylie Flower and Gift, located at 129 N. Ballard Ave., held a celebration from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 16, to commemorate three-quarters of a century of business in the city. Although it has had three owners before her family, current owner Pam Wells said the shop has been in her family for 61 years and counting.

The original shop was opened by Mrs. Paul Stimson in 1948 and held its grand opening on May 6 of that same year with hours from 3 to 10 p.m., Wells said. Stimson then sold the shop to Lou Prince who in turn was bought out by Mary Parker. In May 1961, Wells’ parents, Robert and Martha King purchased the shop which has remained in the family since.

Robert recalls his first Valentine’s Day where the shop did $69-worth of business, which would be around $680 today. Wells also became involved in a smaller-scale gift store venture called Pam’s Nook that accompanied the flower shop.

Now the shop’s principal owner, Wells, a fourth-generation florist, has taken over the day-to-day operations although her dad, Robert, still comes in and helps out on occasion. When describing the shop she grew up in, Wells said Wylie Flower and Gift is “home,” adding that the city has evolved since her family has been involved.

“I spend more time up here than I do at my house [in waking hours,]” Wells said. “It’s pretty impressive that we’ve seen Wylie grow and change over the years.”

When her parents moved into the shop’s current location, it replaced a funeral home at the corner of Ballard Avenue and Marble Street. There also used to be a chapel where Robert, a licensed justice of the peace, would wed couples while also providing the convenience of a floral service or even a reception area.

Wells said she has many early memories of some of the weddings officiated by her father, including working several of the receptions where she would help bus tables. Her family vacations also revolved around the shop, she said, and it took her to Texas Florist’s Association conventions in Dallas, Houston, Austin or San Antonio depending on the year.

Eventually, Wells transitioned away from the wedding venue and focused more on gifts that go well with flowers, adding that she downsized following a significant hailstorm in 2014. Currently, individuals browsing the shop’s shelves can find candles, candy and silk flowers in addition to ordering floral arrangements.

Wells said she continues to maintain a strong walk-in business, even though deliveries remain a significant chunk of sales. Back in the original days of the store when there were no supermarkets in Wylie, Wells said she envisions the store as “the Walmart of Wylie before Wylie had a Walmart.”

“If we didn’t have it, we would go get it,” Wells said. “For instance, we offered fruit, junk food and candy baskets. If somebody wants a gift basket for a child in the hospital, I’ll go get the puzzle books. We would always provide the service to fulfill what our customers wanted.”

Additionally, Wells said she did not initially want to get involved with the shop despite growing up in the downtown area although life circumstances led her to reconsider the decision. Her son, Cole, has disabilities that impacted her ability to continue practicing law.

“Ten therapy sessions per week took away from my ability to work what was fair to my employer,” Wells said. “Priorities changed, and I said, ‘being raised on the streets of downtown Wylie was a good life for me and I wanted my child to have that experience too.’ I could have him here, have extra help and raise him in a home.”

As the 75th anniversary of the shop nears in May, Wells said she and her family are proud of the strong community connection that has been built through donations to local events and the integrity of the shop.

“I think it’s the integrity that we have here that’s important,” Wells said. “You don’t get that overnight; you have to build that through relationships.”

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