For Barbara Cross, flowers speak emotions.
Over three decades of crafting floral arrangements, Cross has served customers through weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and funerals.
“I take this seriously. We handle people’s emotions. … Our responsibility is to convey those emotion in these arrangements,” Cross said Tuesday.
Now Cross will take that attention to detail as the new owner of Jansen Floral Effects on Vandercook Way in Longview. Cross, who also owns a thriving floral shop in Kalama called Floral Effects, purchased Jansen Flowers from owners Harry and Clara Renick after the 83-year-olds retired this summer.
For nearly 70 years, Jansen had earned a reputation in the region for its quality and service, Cross said, and she did not want to see the business die simply because the owners were retiring.
“Jansen has always been a known name in the floral industry,” she said. Cross heard the business was for sale through her associate and wholesale supplier, Kyle Ward, who also worked with the Renicks and help to get the deal started.
“We felt it would leave a big void in Longview-Kelso without it,” said Ward, a third-generation wholesale flower and greens supplier.
Cross renamed the business “Jansen Floral Effects” as the blend of her Kalama business name with the well-known Jansen name.
After taking over on July 1, she relocated the business on Oct. 1 to a smaller shop at 1035 Vandercook Way, behind Sterling Honda. Cross said she didn’t need the 6,000-square feet of space of the former Jansen location because she doesn’t have the same large gift shop.
Instead, she’s focusing on flowers, plants and small gift items such as cards, candles, chocolates and plush toys that often accompany bouquets. She offers custom-ordered bouquets and arrangements for special events as well as fruit and food baskets for pick up or delivery. Eventually she’s hoping to get a liquor license to offer wine gift baskets, too.
The scent of pine needles and roses waft through air at the bright, new 2,000 square-foot store. Wood laminate floors and neutral walls provide a backdrop for green ferns, bright red poinsettias and yellow snapdragons poking out from arrangements around the shop.
Cross said she tries to add a creative twist to each creation.
“Like this,” she said, plucking a red reed that swept over an arrangement of crimson roses, carnations, cedar leaves and magnolia greens.
“This is fun, this unique, this (creates) interest. We try to make everything with interest. It leaves you looking at it to go, ‘What is that?’ or going ‘Wow, isn’t that a unique way to do that?” she said.
Between both the Kalama and Longview shops, Cross has two-fulltime florists, including Suwannee McGee, who previously worked for the Renicks for 24 years.
“We want to continue serving the community,” Cross said. “It’s not just about putting flowers in a vase. It’s about reflecting emotions.”