A flower shop that has grown from humble beginnings in Shaw into a flourishing Oldham business celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.
Former customers and staff from Millers Florists are invited to celebrate the occasion with owner Barbara Jackson and her staff on Saturday, November 18.
Barbara, who still lives in Low Crompton, was just 18 when she set up her first outlet on Shaw high street.
Five years later she uprooted her blossoming business and re-planted her stock in her current premises on Huddersfield Road.
“It doesn’t seem like 40 years even though things have changed a lot,” Barbara told the Correspondent.
“And I can’t see myself retiring any time soon because I am so hands on.”
That personal touch has enabled the family enterprise to branch out over the past four decades.
Millers’ customers, some in Australia and Canada, are drawn from a 7,000 strong database.
They’ve provided bouquets to the stars and even managed an order for 240 yellow roses for one romantic gentleman intent on celebrating his wedding anniversary with a big gesture!
“I started as a work experience girl at a shop in Middleton when I was 16,” explained Barbara, one of nine part and full-time staff working in the Oldham shop.
“I finished up practically running the shop and my mum (Norma) said ‘why don’t you do it for yourself’.
“Fortunately, my dad had a farm and acted as guarantor for the expense of opening it up. So, I had to make it work,” she laughed.
“Mum joined me in the business because we were so busy and we used to go to College together.”
Five years on and a call from a local estate agent alerted Barbara to the current premises.
“A few people warned about having two shops and they were right.
“You can’t give that personal touch if you have to be in two places at once.
“So, I sold the shop in Shaw because the premises in Oldham were much bigger.”
Barbara, a Miller before marriage, has certainly seen the business evolve.
“There are flowers available now that you couldn’t get 40 years ago. But people still want their roses, carnations and lilies.
“And because everyone is in a rush these days, they want their flowers ready made up rather than put in orders.
“Then of course there is the technology. I remember my husband watching a television programme all about the internet and him telling me it was going to be big news.
“He as right and now we have developed a good website plus the extensive database.”
Coronation Street stars past and present, Anne Kirkbride and Michael Le Vell, have patronised the shop now preparing for its big 40th Open Day.
“We are hoping some of our retired staff are going to come and see us because that will be great for our older customers,” added Barbara. “My mum, who is now 84, will also be joining us.”
There will be flower arrangement demonstrations, free goody bags, mulled wine and raffles.
“People think it is nice playing with flowers but it can be stressful,” added Barbara.
“But I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
Visit Millers Florist at 102A Huddersfield Road, Oldham OL4 2AH or call them on: 0161 633 5842.
Also visit their website online: www.millersfloraldesign.co.uk