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Sowing the Seeds to Grow Your Family Business

Valerie Kelley, second from the right, with her loyal staff the day before closing.
Article Date: 
15 October, 2010 - 06:00

Valerie Kelley’s colorful and fragrant presence is well known in Morgan.  No, she’s not a farmer but she definitely makes an art out of using plants, flowers, and other things grown in nature to make a living and provide a positive service to her community.  
Most residence of Morgan City and the surrounding communities are familiar with Val's Flowers, etc.  The flower and gift shop is easy to see as it greets those who have used the 103 exit to leave Interstate 84 and go into the city’s center.  Val’s Flowers, etc. can be seen almost immediately after turning onto State Street.    
Planted over three decades ago by Valerie and her, now deceased husband, Dennis Kelley, they grew the business to profitability and to where they could continue to blossom year after year for over three decades.  Val has made the decision to pull up her small business roots and retire.  She has a good variety of seeds to plant and grow from her list of personal interests and pursuits.  
It will be sad to see the town’s flower shop fade away into the history of Morgan after so many years. It has been the first thought stop for anyone needing to send flowers for any occasions, to buy their date a corsage or boutonniere for the big dance, or to quickly pick up a small special pick-me-up for a friend in need of cheer.  
The Morgan County News would like to thank Val for being an advertiser and supporting the county’s newspaper.  We hope that having your business visible each week in the newspaper added to the awareness of your great product and excellent service and made a contribution to your success.  Having your well-established and reputable business on our pages was an honor and we appreciate your support.
Besides Val’s visibility as an advertiser in the newspaper, she was also visible right inside The Morgan County Newspaper office from 1985 to 1988.  Beginning in 1979, Dennis and Valerie were beginning to transfer their business focus from exclusively running a turf farm to making their priority product the selling of flowers (their secondary business focus).  They soon discovered that it was the flowers that were in demand.  The selling of flowers as a supplement income of the business had begun with the selling of flowers and making of corsages for Mother’s Day and for school dances.  In April 1979, the flowers were in such demand, that for a time, the floral business took over part of their home.  “When local interest continued to pick up over the next few years, they needed more space.  They moved into the old bank on Commercial Street, with The Morgan County News, in 1985,” said former owner of the paper, and current Morgan County School District Superintendant, Ken Adams. Val has been the subject of or been mentioned in several articles and entries of the paper over the years, including being recognized as the Interflora Florist of the Year.
For more information on Valerie Kellie, The Morgan County News invited writer, Morgan City resident, and customer of Val’s Flowers, etc, Melinda Savage, to take on the job of gathering more information and learning even more about Morgan’s favorite florist, Val Kelley.  The next section of this article will be in next week’s newspaper.