Home & Garden

Flower Basket celebrates 35 years of success, involvement

Carol Reeves has owned and operated The Flower Basket in Cottage Grove for the past 35 years. File photo

Carol Reeves has put her heart and soul into The Flower Basket – her curated shop of flowers, Oregon-made chocolates, boutique clothing, jewelry and gifts – for the past 35 years. So naturally, she celebrated the milestone by giving customers 35 percent off merchandise last weekend.
”The floral industry is something that gets in your blood,” Reeves said. ”You either love it or you stop doing it pretty quickly.”
The shop, located at 119 S. 6th St. in Cottage Grove, has evolved through the past 35 years, from primarily offering flowers, candy and balloons to a visual feast of themed home décor gifts.
The keys to her store’s success and longevity seem deceptively simple, yet difficult for some establishments to manage: Fill a local need, and adapt as those needs change; post and keep regular hours; build strong relationships with employees and customers; provide great customer service; and get involved in the community.
”We fill a niche in the Cottage Grove/Creswell, South Lane County area,” Reeves said. ”We began carrying boutique clothing (now a ”close second” behind flowers as the store’s top-selling item) and accessories when our local shoe and clothing store closed about six years ago.”
Members of the shop’s staff have worked there for decades, ”so you become kind of like a family – and we have customers who’ve been our customers for 35 years, too,” Reeves said. ”We’ve seen kids grow up, graduate, get married and have children; we see the whole spectrum of families.
”That continuity is important,” she added. ”We get to know what certain customers like, and all our longtime customers get to know our employees, too.”
Perhaps most important, ”Being active in your community makes a big difference; I’m a past Chamber president, I’ve been on several boards and am very supportive of the community,” Reeves said.
The store, she noted, has ”held a couple of fashion shows using the clothing we carry as fundraisers for local organizations, and we’re doing one for the (Cottage Grove) Hospital Auxiliary on Oct. 12.”
Each year, customers also look forward to the ”winter wonderland” the shop creates for its Holiday Open House in early November and Ladies’ Night Out preview of the store’s fall collection in October.
Asked what advice Reeves would give anyone looking to follow in her footsteps as a successful business owner, she again emphasized the importance of ”getting involved in your community.” And, she added, ”You have to be committed to your vision and really watch the quality” of merchandise.
”With pricing and minimum wage going up, it can sometimes be hard to compete, so you have to have the best quality out there to make people want to buy your products,” Reeves said. ”It’s not always possible, but we try to get made-in-the-U.S. products too, whenever we can.”
Offering high-quality and locally sourced products and giving back to one’s community are two ways a new business can begin cultivating and nurturing its own abundant perennial ”garden” of customers, as The Flower Basket has done.
Equally important is appreciation: ”Our 35th anniversary sale was our way of thanking our customers for all our years in business and for being so supportive,” Reeves said. ”Because without our customers, we wouldn’t be here.”



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