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Lilly’s Floral and Gifts to open

Schmidt brings experience from Vernon’s to new shop

January 29, 2012
By TERRENCE DWYER, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

The boom in new businesses locating in the heart of Fort Dodge's historic downtown commercial district that characterized 2011 is continuing as the new year unfolds. Lilly's Floral and Gifts will open Wednesday at 11 N. 10th St. - just north of Little Joe's Computers.

Owned by Alice and Don Schmidt, the new store will be overseen primarily by Alice Schmidt, who brings to the venture many years in the local floral world.

"I worked at Flowers by Vernon," Alice Schmidt said. "I worked there for 14 years."

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Alice Schmidt, co-owner of Lilly’s Floral and Gifts, 11 N. Tenth St., tries out her new cooler. The store will open Wednesday.

Even before Flowers by Vernon closed in 2009 when owners JoAnn and Vernon Hoover retired, Schmidt said she had fallen in love with that type of business and began thinking about one day having a similar enterprise of her own.

"When I was working at Flowers by Vernon I wanted to have my own flower shop," she said. "JoAnn (Vernon) taught me everything that I know."

Lilly's Floral and Gifts will feature a broad selection.

"We're going to have fresh flowers, silk flowers, green plants and blooming plants and a few home decor things," Schmidt said, noting that there will be candles and gift baskets.

The goal is to create a market niche for the store that makes it a valued resource for customers.

"I'm going to try to carry things that the other stores and shops in town don't carry. ... Unique flowers," Schmidt said, stressing that she is ready to assist shoppers in search of that special floral arrangement or plant not in stock elsewhere.

In that regard, the store is served by wholesalers in the Des Moines area with a vast selection and the ability to get products to her store quickly, Schmidt said.

"Our wholesalers deliver every day," she said. "If I need something the next day, I can get it."

People in search of something already created that can be purchased on the run will also find Lilly's Floral and Gifts ready to serve.

"We're going to have arrangements already made up," Schmidt said. "You can get something out of our cooler and go."

Schmidt said her new shop is also committed to providing customized, highly personalized floral service for weddings, receptions, funerals and any other event where flowers or plants are a crucial component.

The spot near Central Avenue was selected in part because Alice Schmidt believes in the future of downtown Fort Dodge.

"I wanted to help bring businesses to downtown, because we need more businesses downtown," she said.

Schmidt said she is excited about being back in the flower business.

"I just miss being in a flower shop," she said.

Lilly's Floral and Gifts will be open six days a week. However, service on Sundays is available by appointment.

Meet the Schmidts

Alice Iverson Schmidt grew up in Fort Dodge. She graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 1989. Don Schmidt is originally from Barnum. He has been part of the team at USG for 15 years. They have two sons. Michael, 18, is a senior at Manson Northwest Webster. Jacob, 15, is a sophomore at Fort Dodge Senior High. Alice Schmidt said her sons have volunteered to help out in the store from time to time.

Contact Terrence Dwyer at (515) 573-2141 or



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