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'It’s time': N.B. flower shop closes after more than 140 years in business

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It was the hardest decision they’ve ever had to make.

Pam and Karen Goold, fifth generation florists, have decided to close Goold’s Flowers.

The family owned and operated business has served the community of Sussex, N.B., for more than 140 years.

The flower shop, which is run out of their 148-year-old home, had been temporarily closed since October, but on Monday they made it official with a post on the company Facebook page.

“After we went on vacation for a few weeks, we decided we can’t do this anymore,” said Pam. “We’re causing too many problems for ourselves and we said it’s time.”

Karen said there a variety reasons for a recent downturn in business, including COVID-19, but having large retails stores in town didn’t help either.

“So many of the box stores are full service. Not delivery, but they’re doing arrangements, they’re having cut bouquets. And it’s just, it’s a dying business,” said Karen.

It all started in 1878 when the first Goold moved from Maine to Sussex.

Mining didn’t work out for him, so he built greenhouses and started a company.

Pam and Karen’s grandfather and great-grandfather were well-known landscapers in the province and their father eventually took over the business in the 1960s.

Pam (left) and Karen Goold have decided to close Goold’s Flowers in Sussex, N.B. (Derek Haggett/CTV Atlantic)

The Goold girls helped with deliveries when they were kids and when the finished school they began working in the flower shop full-time where they learned from their father how to treat customers.

“Dad always preached, he was very concerned about the community and the customers. He was very involved in the community. He was a great man,” said Karen.

From baptisms to proms, weddings to funerals, they've helped their beloved customers celebrate lifetime events for decades.

“Something that’s probably the closest meaning to us is doing the final flowers for somebody,” said Pam. “A celebration of their life and being able to comfort the family.”

Karen said her older sister does wonderful wedding work.

“Last summer we had someone come in with a picture, their parents were having their 50th wedding anniversary and wondered if we could do the flowers for their 50th anniversary because we had done their wedding flowers,” said Karen. “To me, that’s important.”

There were many comments of gratitude and support on the Facebook post announcing the closure.

One woman recalled trying to buy flowers for her housekeeper in 1959 on her birthday, but whoever was working that day wouldn’t accept any money.

Those comments of appreciation did not go unnoticed.

“It was like when dad passed away. The number of people in the community that reached out, it was humbling,” said Karen. “It’s overwhelming.”

They’ve done flower arrangements for two Elton John concerts and made bouquets for school children to present to Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Sussex in 2002.

As for what they’ll miss the most, that’s easy.

“Oh, the customers. The customers definitely. We have some really great ones,” said Karen, holding back tears.

Pam agreed.

“The same. That chokes us up,” said Pam.

Goold’s Flowers will be having a clearance sale coming up in the near future.

It’ll be a chance for Pam and Karen to liquidate their remaining stock and, more importantly, a chance to say goodbye to their loyal customers.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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