New Shop Brings Decades of Floral Experience
Flower Shop Opens on First Street
By Dianne Alward-Biery
Cleaver Staff Writer
Copyright Clare County Cleaver
HARRISON – A new business has been budding in Harrison since The Flower Shoppe building at 286 S. First St. was purchased Feb. 13 of this year, the day before Valentine’s Day – a day synonymous with the giving of flowers. This week on May 1, that bud opened fully as “O’Neil’s Flowers, Gifts and More”.
The new owner-operator, Carron Nevill, has worked in the floral business for nearly 50 years. Nevill said her building has served through many iterations of flower shops, and that she is the sixth owner of the 138-year-old structure.
In naming the shop, Nevill chose to incorporate the name of her late husband, Neil, whom she said made it possible for her to purchase the building and pursue this dream. Thus, it is “of Neil” to wit O’Neil.
Nevill’s partner in this endeavor is her daughter, Amy Morris, whose name and floral design skills will be recognized from her work as the floral designer at the Harrison Flower Shop in the former MacLean’s Mercantile. Morris said she is fortunate that many of her former customers will continue to seek her out at the new shop.
That would seem to be the case, because the shop already had three weddings lined up before it even opened. Nevill said that as soon as they had parked in the drive to begin work on the shop, people had stopped in thinking the business was open, and highly disappointed to learn it was not.
Although she and Amy are Clare residents, Carron Nevill is quick to say that their business in Harrison is all about serving the residents of this area.
“There have always been two flower shops in Harrison, and we’re filling a void here,” she said. “We are a full service florist.”
That service includes delivery, locally and to Gladwin, Clare, Farwell and Lake, and possibly farther depending on the order.
Serving as marketing director for the enterprise is daughter-in-law, Lori Nevill, also of Clare.
“The warmth of the reception of the Harrison community has been heart-warming, both from private citizens and businesses,” she said. “We feel very welcome, and we have lots of friends here.”
She went on to say customers will find some new options for flowers and gifts, along with a lot of goodwill and good spirit.
Morris said the aspect of floral design she finds most rewarding is working on arrangements for funerals, because it allows for personalizing the pieces to the deceased and brings comfort to family members.
“It’s an honor to bring comfort to the family and do the final flowers,” Morris said.
She said past funeral flowers requests have included lots of Hornets blue and gold, items themed to the individual, and finding ways to incorporate hunting items for the avid hunter or using garden produce for someone who had been involved with the county fair.
“I’m the queen of theme,” Morris said. “I like tailoring it to the person.”
A thoughtful feature of the building is room offset from the main flow through the building, an area where customers can have a bit of privacy as they plan for funeral flowers or other events.
Nevill and Morris have planned a grand opening for Saturday, May 5. Their store will be packed with not only fresh flowers and greenery, but also a truly eclectic mix of gift items. Items ranging from handmade jewelry to Michigan items; garment finery to quirky metal lawn art/bird feeders created from repurposed flatware; unique greeting cards to wall art. Some would say “tchotchke,” others would say “artisanal creativity.” Whatever the chosen term, it still comes out “unique” and “fun.”
And if Carron Nevill has her way, this shop will continue growing and being filled with creativity and an abundance of offerings intended to meet a wide variety of tastes.
“We want to be eclectic,” Nevill said. “We want to be a destination.”
Each year, the world awaits the first Saturday in May and the iconic Kentucky Derby. This year, however, Nevill and Morris will be focused on their own Run for the Roses. With their gracious attention to details and their customers, O’Neil’s Flowers, Gifts and More appears destined for a spot in the winner’s circle.
O’Neil’s Flowers, Gifts and More will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Some appointments also may be available outside posted hours