Daily Egyptian

Local flower shop serves community on Valentine’s Day for 53 years

Deann+McKinnies%2C+of+Carbondale%2C+arranges+flowers+in+preparation+of+Valentines+Day+Monday%2C+Feb.+12%2C+2018%2C+at+Jerry%E2%80%99s+Flowers+in+Carbondale.+McKinnies+has+been+working+at+Jerry%27s+since+high+school.+%28Brian+Munoz+%7C+%40BrianMMunoz%29
Deann McKinnies, of Carbondale, arranges flowers in preparation of Valentines Day Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at Jerry’s Flowers in Carbondale. McKinnies has been working at Jerry's since high school. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Deann McKinnies, of Carbondale, arranges flowers in preparation of Valentines Day Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at Jerry’s Flowers in Carbondale. McKinnies has been working at Jerry's since high school. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Deann McKinnies, of Carbondale, arranges flowers in preparation of Valentines Day Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at Jerry’s Flowers in Carbondale. McKinnies has been working at Jerry's since high school. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Amelia Blakely, Campus Editor

For 53-years, southern Illinois residents have been coming into Jerry’s Flower Shoppe to buy flowers and gifts for Valentine’s Day.

At 20-years-old Jerry Brooks opened the flower shop in 1964 at the Campus Shopping Center at 216 W. Freeman St. It has not moved since.

Brooks said even though the flower business has changed over the years with different occasions and holidays, Valentine’s Day is still a busy holiday season for the shop.

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The flower shop has survived over the years by being one of the only store-front flower shops that focus on arranging individual flower arrangements.

“We have people from all over southern Illinois that come in,” Brooks said. “It’s something they could do where they are, and it’s a compliment when they want us to handle it for them. We’re always happy to do that.”

Deann Mickinnies, an employee of the flower shop said Jerry’s Flower Shoppe offers both customer service and quality.

Mickinnies first began working at the flower shop when she was 15 and after high school continued to work in flower shops in St. Louis Missouri, before coming back to southern Illinois.

When her daughter was 15, Mickinnies came back to Jerry’s and started working where her career began. 

Mickinnies has been in the flower shop business for 47-years and said giving flowers on Valentine’s Day is a tradition more than anything.

“People expect to get flowers,” Mickinnies said.

When it comes to the meaning of flowers, Brooks said roses are the symbol for love and ironically sometimes when customers order a flower arrangement for Valentine’s Day, they specifically ask for no roses in it.

“Others are quite the opposite, they want it to be about love and such,” Brooks said.

For Valentine’s Day, roses are the number one flower order. Brooks said colors like pink, white, and red are very popular during the season.

Since the shop has been open Brooks said customers are much more aware of what types of flowers they want than they use to be. He said the business gets a mixture of requests, some being very specific and others very general.

Mickinnies said once the internet was created customers began ordering specific flower arrangements from online catalogs that Brooks and she would have to make.

“We have become picture-pokers,” Mickinnies said. “We don’t get to use our creativity as much we’d like to.”

Front: Jerry Brooks and Deann McKinnies, both of Carbondale and Robert Wallis, of Marion, smile for a portrait Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at Jerry’s Flowers in Carbondale. Brooks has been operating the shop for the past 54 years years. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

The specific flower arrangements that customer’s order can vary with color or type of flower, but the overall arrangements have to look as similar to the arrangement of flowers the customer ordered, Mickinnies said.

Although majority of customers order through the internet or the phone, the flower shop continues to have customers that order the old-way by coming into the store and ordering in person.

During the holiday season, Brooks said business increases by 300 percent. Sometimes Brooks and Mickinnies have to turn customers away because there aren’t enough people to make and sell the arrangements.

“We’re all older and there aren’t as many of us as there used to be,” Brooks said. “The demand is so overwhelming on holidays that we can’t handle the volume.”

However business is only booming during the main holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Easter. Military balls and dances are occasions that used to exist a few decades ago and don’t anymore Brooks said.

“The holidays have changed,” Brooks said.” Easter and Mother’s Day we’re still busy but not like it once was. On Easter, we would stay down here all night making table centerpieces for people’s Easter Sunday dinner.”

Comparing Valentine’s Day now to a couple decades ago, Mickinnies said the demand for flowers has decreased.

She said this is because people would rather quickly grab flowers at Kroger or Schnucks because it’s convenient with people’s busy schedules.

Even after the years of owning a flower shop and the countless Valentine’s Days, Brooks said he has never gotten tired of flowers. 

“The flowers are fresh, fragrant and pretty when they come in,” Brooks said.

On Valentine’s Day, Mickinnies said giving flowers is a tradition more than anything.

“People expect to get flowers,” Mickinnies said.

Campus editor Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected]

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