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New flower shop moves in

by Deborah Horn Special to The Commercial | August 18, 2021 at 2:49 a.m.
The Petal Shoppe Inc. owners, from left, Mike and Jodie Jolly and Melody Contreras, are shown at their new White Hall location. (Special to The Commercial)

The Petal Shoppe's roots run deep, all the way back to the construction in 1913 of Dollarway Road, which stretched from Pine Bluff to nearly Little Rock. At the time, it was the first paved road in Arkansas.

When the concrete road was torn up, making way for asphalt, a section of the old road was used in the construction of the walls of the original Petal Shoppe building at 5905 Dollarway Road at Pine Bluff.

"Literally, it was built from the road," said the present co-owner Jodie Jolly about the building that was constructed in 1946.

Prior to the Petal Shoppe Inc. that opened in 1975, it was Miller's Variety Store and Woods Dry Cleaners, circa 1947.

The flower shop was owned by Don and Martha Blasengame until 10 years ago when Jolly, her husband, Mike, and Melody Contreras purchased the floral business, keeping the name.

In addition, 83-year-old employee Shirley Brooks stayed with the company. Brooks continues working for the new owners and Jolly said, "She works every day. She's amazing."

Recently, Walgreens made the owners an offer they couldn't refuse. The old building is already down and a Walgreens is going up in that spot, according to the Petal Shoppe owners.

As word spread about their impending move, Jolly said people called, many crying, begging them to keep the building intact.

Jolly said, "It was so old," but basically, they had outgrown the location.

They were able to set up shop about a half mile from their Pine Bluff location.

The owners held a grand opening at the new shop about four weeks ago. It now has a White Hall address, 7710 Dollarway Road.

But a few things remain the same. For example, they kept the now 40-year-old phone number, (870) 247-2206, and found a place for the original "The Petal Shoppe Flowers and Gifts" sign inside their new shop.

CONTINUING A TRADITION

Jolly loved crafts and paper dolls as a child. These days, she enjoys decorating homes for any holiday as well as Christmas. She added, "I love weddings."

Contreras specializes in gift wrap, a talent that comes in handy at a floral shop and around the holidays. She said she would love to have an entire section dedicated to gift wrapping.

The two women have been "best friends" since they were four years old, and the two, along with Mike Jolly, who enjoys plants, are the perfect blend of talent.

They're a traditional floral shop, specializing in a wide variety of seasonal bouquets, corsages, plants, weddings and funerals.

Weddings allow the staff to get creative.

"You can go anywhere and get flowers but we focus on customer service and we offer arrangements (and plants) that aren't available at the grocery store," Jolly said.

Additionally, she said, "Great employees are critical to our success."

Amber Bates, the shop's manager, "knows all things floral and is trustworthy. She's phenomenal," Jolly said.

Brooks is great with plants and "our corsage guru," while longtime employee Liz Jefferies "is great at funeral sprays, and Tricia Cothran makes beautiful bouquets."

HOLIDAY CRUNCH TIME

The owners appreciate their employees' skills and dedication to their craft.

"The work is demanding and the hours can be long," especially at holiday time which isn't limited to Thanksgiving and Christmas, but continues on for months through Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day and more.

"You don't quit because you're tired but because the job is done," Jolly said about hours that often extend well into the late night.

Of special importance to the owners is that they're available 24-7 to meet any and all funeral needs.

"We never turn down funeral work, no matter the day. We consider it a public service," Jolly said.

The owners invite everyone to take a tour of their new shop with its nod to the past.

Print Headline: New flower shop moves in

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