The Flower Corner marks 20 happy years

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CLINTON — Judy Van Fossen can’t believe she’s been in business for 20 years.  But, she says it’s been a pretty smooth two decades.

For the previous 20 years, Judy worked at the Mitsubishi Motors plant, in Normal.

“It was a good place to work, but I knew it wouldn’t last,” she says.

Buying the business in Clinton was essentially her retirement plan – at least from the auto plant.

And, that’s how The Flower Corner came about.

Originally, she bought the business with friend and then county clerk Kathy Weiss from Rita Willoughby.

“I stayed at Mitsubishi for about another year and a half, but I just couldn’t do them both,” Judy says.

She says, like any business, there have been ups and downs, “but, basically, it’s been a good ride.”

        

Judy says running it and working at The Flower Corner has never felt like going to work.  It’s just a place she enjoys going to each day.

They started with flowers but eventually added the gifts area.

“I thought it was going to be easy,” Judy says.  “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it has also been very rewarding.”

They set up The Flower Corner in a building owned by Shofner Real Estate at the intersection of Grant and Van Buren Streets.

“They were very helpful, but it turned out to be just too small,” Judy says.

Then a little church building owned by the Southern Baptist congregation came up for sale.  The members had merged with a church in Decatur.  And Judy says they’ve had all the room they needed.

Although it’s a loss not to have Walmart nearby now, she says having the new Casey’s across the street will be, “a definite plus.”

“The first thing my accountant told me was ‘location, location, and you’ve got it’,” she says.

The second thing he told her, many new business owner might not want to hear.

“Don’t take a dime until your fifth year.”

Generally new businesses are in the position of needing to put any profits they earn in the first few years back into growing the business.

“He was not quite right,” she says.  “We did really well and made it in about three years.”

Judy says she has had good customers over the years with very few complaints.  She thinks me might start cutting back on the number of days she goes into the shop, “which will be kind of nice.”

“I’ve got two little grand kids, and man do they like to come to grandma’s house.”

Judy invites folks to come by and help celebrate The Flower Corner’s 20th anniversary on Saturday.