The building at 212 S. Third St. was originally known as Thomas Art Company.
"It was started in 1960," said Rick Gooding. "They made plastic figurines and held painting classes."
Owned by Wayne and Dorothy Thomas, their daughter, Nancy, got married and wanted to have a small floral business of her own. Therefore, she attended a design school in Colorado, came back and transformed the building's frontage, naming it Lowe's Flowers.
T-R PHOTO BY TAMMY R. LAWSON
'What better job could you have than to send people flowers every day,' asks Rick Gooding, owner of Lowe's Flowers, standing in a reflection of floral color.
As the shop expanded, her parents decided to close the art business altogether and turn the entire building into a bevy of floral beauty while servicing events ranging from parties to weddings.
"Nancy then was starting a family and devote time to that, so her parents took over the business and ran it for several years," Gooding said. "And they are the ones that hired me - I began working as a delivery boy in the summer of 1965."
After taking time to attend college and join the U.S. Navy, he happened to stop by and offer a simple hello - at which time, was asked if Gooding would like to again work at the shop.
He has been a staple of the business since 1972, and Tuesday the store celebrated its 50th anniversary.
"It's different from when I first started working here, because it used to be that you could only get flowers twice a week, and now you can get them every day," Gooding said. "Flowers are picked in South America and 24 hours later, they're here in our shop - it's amazing."
Four years ago, the family decided to sell the operation, asking if the manager would be interested in becoming its new owner, and Gooding jumped at the chance.
"We have generations of families come through here - the grandparents, parents and their children," he said. "It's not really family owned anymore, but I feel like family because I grew up with Nancy's family and have been through their trials and tribulations."
Hence, keeping the namesake as when it first began.
A successful company for half of a century, Gooding said he still takes pride in the exquisite arrangements created within, as well as watching the reactions of those who receive them.
"I love the whole aspect of arranging - looking at what you have and then visualizing it, you make it into something that people look at in awe," he said. "What better job could you have than to send people flowers every day?"
Lowe's Flowers will be celebrating the milestone 8 to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday with in-store sales, along with gourmet food tasting.
And guests will receive a free rose.
Contact Tammy R. Lawson at 641-753-6611 or email@example.com