By Virginia Kovach
If you’ve been to Everts Flowers lately, you may have noticed that the shop looks a little more festive than usual. We’re always filled with bright and cheerful décor appropriate to each season, but when you enter via the front door, you might wonder why we have a May pole with baskets of candy all around it. And when you come to the front counter, you might notice another May pole and a couple of shop clerks like myself crafting 300 little, brightly colored May baskets. What’s it all for?
This year, Everts Flowers turns 95! When we told this to one customer on Wednesday, she joked, “Well! You don’t look a day over 80!” It is true, we look good for our old age. But it’s common wisdom that age wears well on people who have a joyful attitude. And at Everts, joy is always just part of the job.
This has certainly been true for me. I can create a fun display with my coworkers, or I can brainstorm with someone about what gift would be just right for their mom or sister or brother or friend; whatever each day brings, I can find joy in the work.
I asked Brian Smith, the owner, what he loves most about working at Everts.
“No two days are alike,” he told me. He said he loves working with nature, pleasing people, and being free to be creative.
Smith has been a part of Everts since December of 1985, when Peggy Harrison owned the shop. She retired in 1997 and Smith became the owner. He is the fifth owner. Our current location at 329 Main Street is its fourth location. Everts has moved around a bit over the years, but it’s always been downtown.
The downtown community is like a big family, Smith said. Working with other people who own businesses in the Main Street Cultural District gives him a “bigger voice” as a small business owner, he said. Shops work together in advertising and marketing initiatives, and they also stand together when city issues arise that affect shop owners.
For me, being a part of the downtown business community by working at Everts has opened up one of the richest phases of my life so far. During my morning routine of walking four blocks from my apartment on Burnett and 8th Street to Everts at the corner of Burnett and Main, I have a few minutes to think about how thankful I am. I have the opportunity to serve people who still believe shopping on Main Street is enjoyable — and, for many of them, essential.
The customers who visit Everts aren’t there to hurry through a shopping list. They are there to look, smell, and appreciate the colors and fragrances of our little world. The big windows on the front and side of the store let the sun in to shine generously on the garden décor, wall art, silk flowers, crystal, and countless other little pieces that exist to offer joy to whoever experiences them.
The floral industry has changed a lot over the years, as Smith will tell you. Many people don’t buy fresh flowers as often as they used to. Everts has adapted to this and expanded its offering of gifts and décor.
Some things, however, don’t change. As people are born, graduate, get married, and eventually pass on, flowers still serve as symbolic gestures of celebration or sympathy.
“We watch families grow,” Smith said. “We bring them into the world, and we are with them through every event, through the good times and bad times, until they’re taken out of the world.”
Similarly, our little team at Everts is here for each other, through good times and bad times. I can say that being a part of the team over the last two years has meant being part of a family. As my personal life has followed twists and turns, Everts has become a source of comfort and joy. I know that after 95 years, we will continue to share that with this community. Thank you to all who have been a part of the Everts story.
You can celebrate with us on May 1, when we will have a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. in front of the store. We’ll give away May baskets, and we’ll have special sales and other surprises all week. I hope to see you there!