CHAMPAIGN — A downtown Champaign floral shop has closed after 26 years in business.
Rick Orr Florist shuttered its shop at 122 N. Walnut St. last week, with co-owner Rick Orr saying he's "semi-retiring."
Orr said he still plans to do holiday, party and wedding arrangements by appointment and continue his involvement with the Station Theatre in Urbana.
"It's been a great run of 26 years. It's something to celebrate," Orr said, adding he's grateful for loyal customers who stuck with him from his early days working at Art Floral.
Orr said that when he opened his shop in 1985, it was one of the "first small retail businesses to grace the (modern-day) expansion of downtown Champaign."
The shop was located on the first floor of a two-story brick building at Walnut and Taylor streets believed to date from 1888.
Orr, who co-owned the shop with Geraldine Tierney, said the floral business typically employed a full-time driver and three to four part-time arrangers. The arrangers were often horticulture students at the University of Illinois.
Like other floral shops that make deliveries, Rick Orr Florist felt the effects of gasoline-price increases. Plus, Orr said, it's not easy to sell a luxury product, like floral bouquets, in a down economy.
But Orr said he felt fortunate to have customers "able to express their emotions through floral design."
See more in Friday's News-Gazette.