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The Posie Shoppe celebrates its 50th anniversary by giving one bouquet a week to businesses and people who have supported them through the years

HOLLY SCHOLZ/CENTRAL OREGONIAN
 - The Posie Shoppe owners Michelle Simpson, left, and Judy Holliday are celebrating the shop's 50th anniversary by giving away 50 bouquets, one per week, to some of their most-prized customers. The downtown Prineville business specializes in flowers, gifts and events.

For 50 years, Prineville folks have been ordering flowers and gifts from The Posie Shoppe.

But to celebrate the milestone anniversary, the florists have turned the tables — they are delivering flowers to some of their favorite businesses and customers around town — one bouquet a week for 50 weeks!

"We were trying to decide what we wanted to do for our 50th anniversary because it's significant, and it was really a struggle to think of what would be significant," said The Posie Shoppe owner Michelle Simpson.

Then, they realized that 50 weeks was almost one year.

"We decided that we would spend the year giving away a bouquet every week for the 50 weeks," Michelle said. "We've started a running list of people and businesses and people in the community that have been really impactful to us and our business."

They began delivering the weekly bouquets around town in October, the month of their 50th anniversary, and are now on their eighth week.

The anniversary gift bouquets vary, depending on the recipient, as does the day of the week that they deliver the bouquet.

"Because these people are important to us, we have learned what they like," Michelle said. "One lady loves birds, so we included a bird in it. We try to personalize it and make it something that we know that they like. We start to get to know people and their tastes."

The Posie Shoppe has showered flowers upon locals since Ruth McKenzie opened "The Posie Shop" in October of 1968.

An advertisement in the Sept. 12, 1968, Central Oregonian says, "Ruth McKenzie is now taking orders for fresh flowers at The Posie Shop, 346 N. Deer St. (The Rare Bird)."

A notice on the front page of that same edition says, "Special attention will be given to weddings, funerals, out-of-town orders, corsages and table arrangements with prompt delivery service."

It mentions that "Mr. McKenzie has been busy remodeling the new quarters and the latest in flower refrigeration equipment has been installed in the shop's spacious workroom. In addition to fresh flowers, Mrs. McKenzie will carry flower arranging materials for home florists."

A second advertisement appeared in the newspaper on Thursday, Oct. 17, 1968, announcing The Posie Shop's Grand Opening, planned for Saturday, Oct. 19. Readers were encouraged to come in and sign up for a drawing and enjoy coffee and cookies.

"Ruth didn't operate it very long," pointed out Mike Mohan, whose mother, Betty Mohan, worked at the flower shop when it opened.

By 1969, Ruth had sold the shop to Betty.

"She bought for $2,500 or something like that," Mike recalled.

It was around the fall of 1973 when Betty moved her floral shop to 142 NW Third St., where it remained for three decades.

Mike remembers that space being the phone switching station for Pacific Northwest Bell before The Posie Shoppe moved in.

Not only did Betty have flowers in her shop, she also offered collectibles and even a health food section for a time.

In the fall of 1997, Mike's wife, Donna Mohan, and Donna's sister, Judy Holliday, purchased The Posie Shoppe from Betty.

Around 2001, Judy's daughter, Michelle, began working at the flower shop, and by 2003, Michelle had bought out Donna's portion, and the mother-daughter team have run the store ever since.

"I've always enjoyed flowers and horticulture and all of that, and I didn't think I was good at it. I was creative, but I struggled until I learned the techniques and all of the mechanics of it," Michelle said. "I really enjoy the retail part of it and enjoy the planning part of it."

In 2005, The Posie Shoppe moved across Third Street to their current location.

"Prineville was exploding and everything was moving around, and this spot came open," Michelle recalls. "It was a leap of faith, for sure. We had to move our cooler and all of our stuff, and we moved over here, and it's been fantastic ever since."

Although Judy has been trying to retire for a year or so, she's still a regular part of The Posie Shoppe, mostly creating the displays.

Michelle and Judy now have five employees and have added to their inventory. Rather than selling collectibles similar to what Betty used to sell, they transitioned into more home décor and gifts.

The Posie Shoppe also helps plan the flowers for special events, including weddings.

"If somebody comes in and wants to send flowers to another city, then we will help them find a real florist there," Michelle said. "They can get somebody that's going to be kind of like us."

She pointed out that very few small businesses in small towns last 50 years, but she says The Posie Shoppe's success says a lot about how the community supports their little town.

"We really wanted to thank people because we could not be around for this long without the support that we've had for years," Michelle said.

The Posie Shoppe

Owners: Michelle Simpson and Judy Holliday

Address: 127 NW Third St., Prineville

Phone: 541-447-4397

Hours: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays in December

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