By LAUREN VINCENT
• Daily Leader
Some loyal customers may not realize that as of March 1, The Flower Basket has recently changed hands. New owner Beth Nickeson sees this as a sign of victory.
When Rozelle Webb, The Flower Basket’s owner of 30-plus years, began considering selling in order to commit more fully to her other job at the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, she remained conscientious of her customers.
“There’s a lot of things she wanted to preserve,” Nickeson said. “She has a lot of loyal customers and that was the main thing she was really worried about was that those customers might not get the same pricing, the same services that she provided for them.”
“I had started a business out of my house in Turpin, a flower and home store,” Nickeson said. “I had started this home business and one day they did a story in the paper about my store. They came out to interview me and took pictures,” she laughed, “We cooled our flowers in our camper trailer – very hillbilly.”
Webb saw the article and realized that Nickeson had a similar start in the floral business to hers.
“Rozelle came to our house one night, and I didn’t know who she was,” Nickeson said. “I asked if she would like to go look at the arrangements I made in the camper and she said, ‘No.’ Rozelle said, ‘I would like to talk to you about something important.’ She wanted to retire from the store.”
Nickeson explained why customers not recognizing a change in ownership has such a positive spin.
“Rozelle said, ‘I wanted to find somebody who would buy it from me and run it the way I would run it,’” Nickeson recalled Webb saying. “I thought it would be nice if someone like you could take over the store.’
“So we ran numbers and bought the store after just a couple weeks,” Nickeson said. “It’s been really nice. Rozelle’s really helped us try to start off and show us how she did everything so it would be kept consistent for everybody.”
Although keeping the prices, quality and personal customer care intact, Nickeson has made a few minor changes to the product.
“We are doing some new things in terms of products,” she said. “For instance, we’re trying to modernize our corsages. The new thing this year is ring corsages. And glow corsages, where we paint the outside edges of the flowers with glow paint so when the kids are dancing they glow. Just little things like that.”
Nickeson has a bachelor’s degree in animal science because her original goal was to become a veterinarian. Her master’s, however, is in agricultural education so she does have a plant science background.
She has been in the floral business for approximately 10 years and has come to appreciate the Japanese art of flower arrangement.
“I’m really into ikebana,” she said. “I do all the traditional arrangements, too, but one of my favorite styles is the Japanese arrangement of ikebana.”
As far as the difficulties of owning an established business, Beth Nickeson suggested the most difficult part was the confusing paperwork.
“This is my passion, you know, I love making pretty things to make people happy,” Nickeson said. “But I never really thought that I would have a business this big. I think, mainly, the biggest challenge was just paperwork, in terms of splitting from one store to the next. Because we signed papers the same day that we took over. It was a big challenge keeping all the paperwork in order. Thankfully, we have a good accountant and a lot of technology to help us.”
The best part of the new ownership has been continuing to live out her passion.
“I really enjoy making flowers that help people celebrate their life occasions or express their sympathy in a positive way,” Nickeson said.
“Number one for us is keeping the quality of the flowers and making arrangements big for the money,” she said. “Everyone is used to that at this store, so that’s what we want to offer for people still. I want to be known as a place that has top quality products and where you really get your money’s worth.”