After 77-year run, Campus Florist to close

After 77-year run, Campus Florist to close

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CHAMPAIGN — A Campustown mainstay plans to close at the end of October.

“We don’t have a set date yet,” said Anne P. Johnston, whose Campus Florist has been at 609 E. Green St. for 77 years.

As for why, Johnston said that “after 77 years of being here, I think it’s time.”

The shop is just to the east of where a 17-story high-rise is expected to be built on the southeast corner of Sixth and Green streets, and Johnston said that played into the decision.

“I had no intentions of retiring, until this mess came up about the high-rise, and it just seemed the time to call it quits,” she said. “I wanted to make it to the 80th birthday (of the store), but that wasn’t the case.”

The high-rise is also leading to the closing next month of Campustown bars Firehaus and The Clybourne, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s The Loft above HomeTown Pantry has already moved across the street.

The building’s developer, CORE, declined to comment.

Johnston, who jokes that she’s 125 years old when asked, opened Campus Florist in 1941 after she moved to Champaign to attend the University of Illinois.

It started on South Wright Street, but moved to its Green Street location a few months later for more visibility and a larger shop, according to a 2016 News-Gazette profile of Johnston during the shop's 75th anniversary.

Campus Florist has survived two fires, student protesters smashing its windows and a burglary in 1997 that left Johnston in a coma for a week.

Johnston, who still works every day the shop is open, said she’s been receiving lots of calls since signs went up Tuesday in the store’s windows announcing that it is closing soon.

“I will miss the students. I’ll miss the faculty and the rest of the people that I know,” she said.