Parsons’ Florist celebrates 100th year in Orangeville

October 27, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Parsons’ Florist has celebrated their 100th anniversary of operation in Orangeville, the event seeing local dignitaries, residents, and members of the family-owned business, both past and present, attend the special commemoration.

The celebration took place this past Saturday (October 14), and saw generations of the Parsons family come together to be honored and celebrated for their continued and historical operation in town.

For 100 years, Parsons’ have provided countless number of flowers of different shapes, sizes, colors and smells, to numerous people in Orangeville and the surrounding area. The family-owned shop has been there for someone for just about anything; whether it is the celebration of a new baby, weddings, providing comfort/condolences at funerals, along with various celebrations and graduations, as well as to just brighten someone’s day or their house and garden.

The flower shop began with Earnest Parsons and his wife Ellen emigrating from England to Brampton in 1910. By 1917, Earnest, who back in England was a gardener for the Queen’s estate and several other private estates, opened up “Home of Flowers.”

Eventually, Earnest was joined by his parents and children, and the store was called “Dad Parsons.” Soon enough, with customers calling it Parsons’ Florist, the shop changed its name to its current one.

Chris McCoy, the current owner of the shop and the great-granddaughter of Earnest, thanked everyone for attending, saying in regards to her job, “I live to work, I don’t work to live.”

“It’s quite an accomplishment, well done,” said Orangeville Mayor Jeremy Williams in presenting her with a plaque.

Ms. McCoy said that through working and looking through the family tree, she found that dating back as far as the 1600s, only one of her ancestors of the nine generations was not a gardener or florist of some sort. “It’s literally in our blood.”

She explained to the Citizen how they have continued to be around for so long, something she attributed to her great-grandfather making and keeping notes on how to run the business during difficult times.

She found he wrote that “people become more compassionate towards each other” when there is a war or a terrible event, such as the Great Depression and the two World Wars.

She recalled how those notes became handy after 9/11.“I thought, ‘what’s going to happen? The world market has slowed down, imported goods is slowing down. Is this going to start a recession?’ ” However, with her great-grandfather’s notes, she was able to keep the business going.

She said that in good economic times, people “focus on themselves more,” so they do see a difference, but they just change their marketing strategy, “so we were able to adapt.”

Ms. McCoy started in the family business in 1997, after completing college. “One day I heard the rumor from my brother that my mom was thinking of selling the shop because there was no one else to take it over, my heart dropped,” at which point she came aboard.

She said her mother, Dorothy, encouraged her children to do “what makes them happy” and never pressured to go into the business, as she was an only child and didn’t have the option.

Ms. McCoy said that since taking over the shop, she has “never looked back, I love every day of it,” and used her educational and business background “to help bring [the shop] up.”

She added that when she started, there were only four staff members, but now Parsons’ has nine.  “We have fun all the time at work… we’re like a family.”

She said her two sons help out sometimes, but “there’s no way I will force them” into the business.

Asked what’s in store for the future, Ms. McCoy simply said, “It may end with me, it may carry on… I don’t think my great-grandfather ever expected it to last this long.”

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