Garden of Eden Marks 40th Anniversary

From left, Carole Lukacz, design specialist; and Jill and Tom Messenger, owners of Garden of Eden Florist, located at 432 Fairmount Ave. Garden of Eden, located at 432 Fairmount Ave., is celebrating 40 years in business this year.  
P-J photo by A.J. Rao

From left, Carole Lukacz, design specialist; and Jill and Tom Messenger, owners of Garden of Eden Florist, located at 432 Fairmount Ave. Garden of Eden, located at 432 Fairmount Ave., is celebrating 40 years in business this year. P-J photo by A.J. Rao

For 40 years, husband and wife, Tom and Jill Messenger, have made flowers an artful and indispensable addition to life’s most unforgettable moments.

As owners of Garden of Eden Florist, located at 432 Fairmount Ave., the Messengers have become a familiar sight in town, with a throng of devoted customers who still consider the shop a ”must-see” for weddings, funerals and occasions of all sorts.

Now in their 40th year, the couple sat down with The Post-Journal to share their reflections, their hopes and why they believe their shop has endured for so long.

”It’s really hard to believe (it’s been 40 years) … it just seems like yesterday,” Jill Messenger said. ”We’ve been through a lot over the years and been fortunate enough to work with a lot of good people.”

Messenger said a key to their success has been a combination of artistic prowess and adaptability.

”A lot of the big stores don’t really understand what it takes to put (these arrangements) together,” she said. ”It takes a lot of knowledge and experience to have it look right and balanced.”

Moreover, she said, flower designs, color combinations and styles are just like fashion — they change over the years.

”The generations are changing as well as how people celebrate the holidays and what flowers they want,” she said. ”It’s a cycle … but we’ve been really good at keeping on top of what’s new and popular.”

Messenger credited her two design specialists, Carole Lukacz and Kelly Anderson, both of whom hold decades of experience with the shop, for helping keep Garden of Eden fresh and current.

For Tom Messenger, who originally opened the shop selling only green plants, such changes have indeed been stark. But one ingredient, he said, has remained constant — the personal care given to each and every customer.

”It’s all in how you handle the customers,” he said. ”When someone comes in, you take care of them and don’t pressure them. We like to give them a much more personal touch when they come in.”

As for the future of Garden of Eden Florist, the Messengers  said they are not planning on quitting anytime soon.

”Hopefully we’ll keep going for another 40 years, even if it’s not (Tom and I) here,” Jill Messenger said.

Messenger acknowledged her family as well as friends, Grace and Phil Dibb, for their long-time support of the shop over the years.

In addition to flower services for weddings, funerals and other occasions, Garden of Eden Florist offers plants, balloons, silk arrangements, wreaths and even floral wire services.

For more information, visit gardenofedenfloristjamestown.com or call 483-3336.

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