When Emily Cashman graduated from the Kirkwood Florals Class in 2015, she received a very special gift – a Hallmark ornament that reads “The Best is Yet to Be.”
The ornament was a gift from her boss at Nature’s Corner flower shop, Cindy Elwick.
Tomorrow, Oct. 1, 2016, Emily will become the boss; she has purchased the business from Cindy.
“That ornament means a lot to me,” says Emily. “Receiving that gift was very special, especially now that Mike and Cindy Elwick have sold their business to me.”
Owning a flower shop became Emily’s dream while she was in high school. She participated in the VS FFA Floriculture contests with some of her classmates. After graduating in 2014, she attended Kirkwood, graduating from its floral program last year, earning recognition as that year’s Outstanding Floral Careers Student. During that time, she was also among several florists invited to decorate Terrace Hill for Christmas.
At the same time Emily was completing her education – she recently passed the Iowa Florists Association Master Florist examination – Cindy was hoping to find someone to continue the business she had started in 1980. She was looking for someone who loved flowers and was able to learn both floral design and arranging techniques and business acumen.
Cindy had started working in a garden center, and opened her first Nature’s Corner 36 years ago. She received her floral education from a floral design school in Chicago. After relocating a few times, Cindy moved the business to its current corner at 4th Street and A Avenue in 2007.
“I have been in the flower business for half my life,” she says.
Emily, while still in high school, began working at Nature’s corner. It was not long before she and Cindy were discussing business succession – although neither remembers the first conversation, or which of them was first to suggest the transaction.
“It’s been wonderful,” says Emily. “I’m very lucky.”
She recalls how Cindy taught her how to cut fresh flowers – and how not to. She remembers hearing Cindy’s guidance on the initial cutting of daisies, and her first arrangement of daffodils.
“I probably have a photo of it on an old phone somewhere,” says Emily.
Nature’s Corner will continue to offer a variety of flowers and arrangements, along with balloons, gift items and even the UPS shipping station. The business name will stay the same, and Emily’s colleagues, including her older sister, Brittany Geiger, will all remain as employees.
“I am beyond excited to begin this journey in my life, and so grateful to Mike and Cindy for this opportunity. This has always been my dream, my plan, and I can’t believe it’s happening,” Emily says.
But as she retires from one business, Cindy will continue in a related one, continuing to help Mike run The Old School Produce, where the garden fills the north lawn of what used to be the West school building.
“Mike is in the fourth year of his 20-year plan,” says Cindy.
Emily and her staff plan a Grand Opening Oct. 14-15. The event will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and continue until 7 p.m. On Saturday, the celebration will continue from 9 a. m. until noon, with new merchandise, drawings for prizes, sales and refreshments.