Serving Customers for
“He was sympathetic and kind, and he assured me that he had the flowers available to make just the kind of uplifting and very pretty arrangement I was thinking of – with lots of fresh, white, feminine blossoms — in my price range, and able to be delivered later that day.”
Owner Natalie Watkins, who started working in her family’s shop over 50 years ago at the age of nine, says, “We actually listen to everyone and try to get exactly what they want…And usually, we get it just right!”
She adds, “After all, we’ve been in business so long that we have a deep understanding of flowers – and people.”
Though Maple Lane Florist was officially opened in 1948 by Natalie’s grandparents, John and Grace Ann Schultz, the Schultzes actually began the business out of the Troy home they moved to from Highland Park in 1936.
“I had a customer come in,” shares Natalie, “who wanted flowers for a 75th anniversary. She said that my grandparents had done the wedding flowers out of their house all those years ago!”
Her grandparents built onto the house with greenhouses and a flower shop. They also had a roadside stand for selling “mums, tomatoes – anything they could grow.”
“And now,” Natalie beams, “there is a fifth generation of family here.”
“Growing up, my mom would bring home work for the five of us kids to do: making bows, assembling corsages…All five of my kids (and most of their spouses) have also been brought up in the business.”
Grandchildren Jordan, Alyssa, Luca, Meadow, and Violet also often work on weekends and in the summer, cleaning flowers and watering plants.
Natalie recounts ways in which the business has changed over time.
“In the past, Mother’s Day and Easter were the biggest holidays. But, over the years, grocery stores – and even hardware store chains – began mass-selling of flowers and plants.”
“Like food, our flowers are a perishable commodity and are always kept in perfect temperature and conditions. If a customer says they don’t want roses because they only last a couple of days, I’m so happy to tell them that ours will last at least a week and sometimes ten days with just a little at-home care.”
Maple Lane Florist is increasingly delivering weekly arrangements, as well as other floral gifts, to corporate customers and other businesses.
“When they receive their standing order for their lobby or front desk, the office workers say, ‘Yay!! Our flowers are here!’” Natalie says. “It’s like they are getting their own gift.”
“They love it,” adds driver and clerk Leigh Liotta. “We bring back the old flowers, and they love the new ones. Everyone loves receiving flowers!”
General manager Blake Bergeson, Natalie’s son-in-law, also enjoys arranging holiday decorating of all types and occasions for homes and businesses.
“Our customers love and trust us,” Natalie smiles. “They’ve been with us for years, and many actually worked with us when they were teens!”
“They’ve stayed with us through all these years. And…it gets better every year!”