February 2020: In the mid-1940s, a family-owned and run flower shop was planted deep in the heart of northeast Oklahoma, and it’s been growing ever since.
This February, Dorothy’s Flowers on Main Street in Claremore will be celebrating its 75th year of business, with specials, bargains, and more to commemorate the once-budding, now blooming business.
“I’ve been here 21 years this spring – we bought the shop in 1999, and my kids literally grew up in here,” said owner/manager Holly Thompson. “With the business in its 75th year of operations this year, we knew we had to do something special for the customers to recognize this landmark.”
As part of Dorothy’s 75th anniversary, the shop will be offering special deals at “1945 prices” to select customers.
“People need to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, because every month, we’re going to do a throwback to the prices of when we first opened in 1945,” she said. “One month, it might be a dozen roses for the 1945 price, another month, it might be a floral arrangement or a dozen carnations, and something else the month after that – all for 1945 prices. Throwback price deals will be good only on the day they are posted on social media. Be watching, the deals are limited quantities, and available on a first come, first served basis. Thompson said other specials will be offered over the course of the year as a means to both benefit the customers and show her appreciation for the community’s continued patronage of the local flower shop.
“We’re so thankful for all the support we have from the town, from the community,” she said. “75 years is a long time for any company, and looking forward, I’m hoping we’re able to remain the same kind of small mom and pop business we’ve always been that is around to serve many more generations to come.”
Serving generations of customers is something with which Dorothy’s is well-acquainted.
Dorothy’s first opened Feb. 1, 1945, under the management of its original owner, Dorothy Bernet. At the time, the business was originally located on Missouri Street in Claremore, near the old Yale Theater, but it later moved across the street. In 1963, the shop made another move – its last – to its current location on Will Rogers Boulevard.
With the move came a name change to Dorothy’s Petals & Poodles, as Bernet raised and sold poodles out of a kennel in the back of the new building. Eventually, “the Poodle” was dropped, and the kennels were converted to storage space.
In 1975, Dorothy’s employee Gertrude Riddle and her husband, Clarence, purchased the business from Bernet, and in 1999, the business was purchased by Thompson and her husband, Ken, who have owned it ever since.
“It’s not uncommon for people to come in and tell us that we did their grandparents’ and parents’ wedding, and they want us to do their (wedding) as well,” Thompson said. “With us being here for so long and the business being here much longer, we kind of feel like we’re caretakers of a local landmark.”
Over the years, Dorothy’s service and quality has led it to be the top pick of the locals, who voted it “Claremore’s Favorite” flower shop in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018 in the Claremore newspaper’s “Reader’s Choice Awards.”
Although the advent of the internet “tremendously changed” the flower business in recent years, Thompson held that patronizing local shops in person or by calling and talking to an employee makes all the difference in customer satisfaction.
“It’s so much easier to talk to a person who understands the (floral) business – who has been involved in it for years, and has experience, who knows what kind of flowers are in season, and are available,” she said. “So many times, ordering flowers from a website, you’re not dealing with a florist, you’re just dealing with someone who will take your information – and your money, but they don’t have the background to truly help (the customer) – we do.
“Giving flowers as a sign of caring, affection, or love is something that goes back centuries – there were florists found in ancient Rome,” she continued. “The language of flowers goes back hundreds of years, and today, in 2020, that’s a language that we speak here, and that we speak fluently.”
For more information about Dorothy’s Flowers’ 75th anniversary, deliveries, orders or Dorothy’s Flowers, call 918-341-0692, visit them in person at 308 W. Will Rogers Boulevard (main street) in Claremore, or online at www.dorothysflowersonline.com.
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