BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – With the sweet scent of floral arrangements and polished wood, the Flower Cottage quietly rolled over 40 years in business on Friday.
Despite being in her current location for close to 10 years, Diane Spiekermeier celebrated the full 40 in the flower and plant business with an Ambassador Call on Friday morning at the business located at 1135 Avenue E.
Spiekermeier has had several locations in Fort Madison including on Avenues B, H, and G, but she says this move to the joint venture of the Hill Side Inn and Flower Cottage at 1135 Avenue will probably be her last.
“We’ve moved twice now and I think this will be our landing spot until I either retire or expire,” Spiekermeier said to a good laugh from the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.
Spiekermeier worked for almost 18 years at the Bonny Buyer and was looking to get out of the business when the opportunity arose to spin off the Flower Cottage when Matt Mohrfeld got out of the retail side and went to the wholesale market.
She says through all the years, Thanksgiving is actually her favorite holiday because it’s not nearly as hectic as the other holidays. Obviously Valentine’s Day is the biggest day of the year as far as sales, but she said it can be a handful.
One of the things the staff, of which there are nine, enjoys is the “Designing for Dummies” classes that are held at different times during the year.
Sandy Kassmeyer, one of the key staff at the store, said the idea came about very quickly years back and Spiekermeier asked her to teach the classes.
My being an old 4-H girl I said “OK, I’ll do them” and I started them but she took over because when you repeat the same thing over and over…but they are really popular,” Kassmeyer said. “They started on Avenue G and we were doing them in the evening and that’s what kind of led to the bar and flower shop idea,” Kassmeyer said.
Hours for the Flower Cottage are Monday-Friday 8:30 to 4 and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.