One of Kokomo’s most well-known florist has closed.
Bowden Flowers’ last day in business was Saturday after serving the Howard County area for nearly half a century. Its original owners Bill, Mary, and Missy Bowden opened the business in December of 1973.
Its current owner Richard “Dick” Taylor and his wife Linda bought the business in 1989. But Linda’s sudden death last September in a car accident lead to the eventual closure of the business.
It was Linda Taylor’s hard work, designs and dedication that made Bowden Flowers one of the best-reviewed local florist shops. The business won “Best Place To Buy A Floral Bouquet” numerous times in the voter-chosen Best of Kokomo.
“She had very high standards for quality of work, quality of customer service,” Richard Taylor said of his wife.
“With her not around, I know it’s not my calling. I don’t want the business to deteriorate.”
Bowden Flowers won’t be changing hands, but its customer information was sold to Jefferson House of Flowers, 4300 W. 100 N. Also, three designers employed by Bowden will join the workforce at Jefferson House.
Effective Monday, Bowden Flower’s phone number and website will be redirected to Jefferson House’s phone number and website. Any Bowden Flowers gift cards purchased since Jan 1, 2019 will be honored by Jefferson House. The two businesses are using the same software system for orders so if someone has ordered from Bowden before, all their information should seamlessly transfer over to Jefferson House.
Jefferson House Flowers owners of three years Truman & Kelli Elkins and Kayla Keith said they are extremely grateful Richard Taylor decided to sell the customer base to them.
“The fact they’re willing to allow us to take over their customer base – with the standards they have – it’s nice,” Keith said. “I feel like we’re being trusted.”
But supporting and being friendly to even local competition was something Bowden Flowers saw as important.
“When we first bought Jefferson House Flowers Dick and Linda sent over a huge fruit basket,” Truman Elkins said. “They opened up to us. We were floored. This is our competition, and they’re sending us a fruit basket.”
To keep Linda Taylor’s legacy alive, Jefferson House will sell a design entitled “Linda’s Choice,” which will include a collection of very colorful flowers – Linda Taylor’s favorite type of flowers. Part of the proceeds from that design will go toward either Cross America or Living Alternative Pregnancy Resource Center.
Richard Taylor said he understands that some longtime customers may not initially like the change, but he hopes those customers give Jefferson House a chance and, more importantly, to keep supporting local businesses.
“The people of this community need to support their local business directly and not indirectly because we’re the ones that are asked to sponsor ball teams, to do yearbook ads and they ask us to donate to fundraisers,” he said.