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Sandy Barnerd has had her hand in The Flower Basket in some form or another for about 37 years. She began working at the Flower Basket part-time in 1980 after her friends, Toy Lynn and Lemah Jo, recommended that she work a little in the shop. Sandy’s kids, Heather, Jennifer, and Heath were young at that time and she thought that might be some good part-time work.
Initially, Sandy began delivering flowers on holidays and to the funeral homes. Eventually she began designing arrangements and would substitute if someone needed a day off. She found that she loved working with Pat Lamar who owned the shop. Sandy had always loved flowers so it was a good fit.
Over time the shop was sold, and every few years it found a different owner – Sandy Potts, Sherri Wright, Leann Davis, and Brenda Conrad. Sandy did work at another job for about five years but also did deliveries and some work for the different shop owners on the side. Finally, Sandy and Tom bought the shop from Brenda Conrad in 1999. Pat Lamar owned the shop for 18 years. Sandy and Tom will have owned the shop for 18 years this year on April 1st.
Over the years, Sandy has included her family to help operate the shop. Her daughters, Jennifer and Heather, both have had a hand in it. Her husband Tom has been a really great delivery guy. He has the best part of the job – delivering beautiful bouquets and gifts to offices and homes. He gets to see the surprised and happy faces of folks in the community. Tom said jokingly, “Yeah, except when the arrangements are crooked or a little lopsided from the drive!”
Sandy remembered a flourishing time when people bought flowers for funerals and special occasions, but she said that’s just not the case anymore. “There was a time when four to five people worked in the shop, now it’s usually just one. It’s hard to keep a local business going these days. We try to add more variety to the shop and cut back where we can.” At one time funerals brought in much more revenue, but fewer people buy flowers these days.
Despite the setbacks and signs of the time, Sandy and Tom keep at it, always trying to use new ideas or products to sell in the shop, hoping to appeal to the locals. Sandy said her daughters, and part-time worker Christy McClenahan, have been great in thinking of new ideas. The Barnerds’ granddaughter Cassie helps out in the shop, too, when she can. Sandy admits she could not get the job done without the support of her family.
Sandy continues to sell the usual flower shop items like traditional flower arrangements and nontraditional arrangements (like ones geared for men or ones filled with candy), floral wreaths, large and small live potted plants, saddles for headstones, funeral arrangements, grave blankets, memory stones, memory stone benches, wedding arrangements, a huge variety of helium filled mylar balloons and mylar “walking” balloons, and stuffed animals. She also sells some antiques, glassware, vases, plates, framed pictures, and medium-sized wind chimes. She has added new items like different types of jewelry, and continually updates items like the popular Willow Tree figurines. The shop delivers to homes and businesses, but also delivers arrangements to cemetery plots in Hardin and Pope Counties.
Sandy said that they can design arrangements or wreaths to just about any occasion, theme, or holiday. She said she is thankful that her girls are very artistic and creative. Tom has a creative side, too. When the task gets a little too entricate, Sandy enlists him with the job. Tom has been known to carve a fish, ship and even a back hoe out of Styrofoam!
Currently the shop has a wide variety of items for sale for Valentine’s day. Deliveries can be made to the school this year, but if a student is a bus rider, balloons are prohibited for safety reasons. Aside from flowers and flower arrangements, there is a wide variety of Valentine themed stuffed animals, balloons, candy and soft drink packages, and stuffed animal arrangements and packages.
The Flower Shop building is part of history. It’s the oldest building on that block facing Main Street in Rosiclare. (See the Scene from the Past on page 7). After the flood of 1937 forced the State Bank of Rosiclare to move, it held business there for a few years. The flower cooler in the back of the shop was thought to be the bank vault at one time. In the 1940’s, the building was occupied by Mattie’s Beauty Shop. Eventually it became The Flower Basket.
The Barnerds encourage locals to come in and see that nice gifts are available at reasonable prices close to home, too. They are thankful for the continued support from the community and love it when customers come in for a visit.
For customer convenience, The Flower Basket takes credit cards. To see pictures of products and updates from the shop, visit the shop’s Facebook site: The Flower Basket. Call the shop at (618) 285-3518 to receive more information. The Flower Basket is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.