Iola Greenhouse moves downtown

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March 16, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Forced by a condemnation to its building, Iola Greenhouse & Gifts has relocated to the south side of the square.
Kelly Spears, owner of the flower shop, had been leasing the longtime greenhouse at 704 E. Lincoln.
City inspectors found numerous structural problems in January that produced water leaks and also noticed copper tubing was used to carry natural gas to antiquated open-faced heaters, which violated city codes.
“It was a doozy of a problem and I couldn’t get a plumber to give me an estimate for repairs,” Spears said.
On Wednesday, Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Bauer and his assistant Tony Godfrey inspected the building and told Spears the building was up for condemnation, she said. “I also was told that utilities were going to be shut off by the end of the week.”
Utilities were disconnected Thursday morning.
“Mom (Jacquelyn Smith) and I were trying to fill orders when the electricity went off,” Spears said. “I called the city and asked if they could leave the electricity on a little longer. I was told no, that it was a safety issue.”
A distressing note, Spears said, is that she had invested $5,000 in the old shop in flooring, paint and other things to pretty it up. She hadn’t, though, been using the greenhouse itself, a decision prompted by her being in the business only since October.
With help of a small army of friends and family, Spears opened at 1 E. Madison Monday morning, which, she noted, “gives us a more visible location.”
The store offers cut flowers, artificial flowers and plants, a broad array of home decor and sterling silver and costume jewelry.
Some issues remain: phone calls — the shop number is 365-7447 — are being patched through to Spears’ cell phone and credit card transactions are conducted at her sister Kim Folk’s Salon Nyne, a few doors down.

THE LINCOLN Street building dates back more than 100 years, said owner Dennis Williams, who said he was uncertain what he would do with the building.
“The city told me I was going to have to bulldoze it, and I have a meeting with city officials April 27,” he said.
Williams operated the greenhouse with wife Darlene for 38 years, before leasing it to others beginning eight years ago.

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