Weir’s Florist celebrates 50 years

Business has grown under three generations of green thumbs

By Samantha Tucker samantha@prairiepress.net
Posted 4/5/21

In 1971, Maxine and Russ Weir transplanted their flower business from Mattoon to Paris. Now, Weir’s Florist is excited to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2021.

The current Weir in charge …

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Weir’s Florist celebrates 50 years

Business has grown under three generations of green thumbs

Posted

In 1971, Maxine and Russ Weir transplanted their flower business from Mattoon to Paris. Now, Weir’s Florist is excited to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2021.

The current Weir in charge is Brad Weir, the founders’ grandson, who took over the business from his father Randy. He is proud the combination plant nursery, garden supply store and florist is still a family-owned, community-oriented business.

“There’s not too many businesses in Paris that’ve survived for 50 years,” he said. “And it’s the customers that’s made it happen.”

A celebration is still up in the air due to the lingering dangers of COVID-19, though the family has considered an open house. On the bright side, the pandemic’s gardening boom was good news for greenhouses, Weir’s included.

“It was actually a lot busier than expected. People couldn’t travel, so they stayed home. The food shortage (meant) we sold all our veggies,” Brad Weir said.

His network of wholesalers and other greenhouses believe this year will be another high-volume one. Weir’s has prepared accordingly by ordering more stock and adding two new greenhouses, expanding their operation to 15,000 square feet.

“I’d like to say it’ll be up again,” he said optimistically, “but I’m not 100% sure. We’re prepared for it.”

The new greenhouses are a big change, but both the junior and senior Weirs pointed out the automatic watering system as a greater one. The system of tubes and hoses easily saves them 3-4 hours of work a day, Randy Weir noted.

The Weirs will take all the timesaving measures they can get – planting season is brief, but floristry is a year-round endeavor. Before the New Year’s confetti has been swept up, the Weirs are planting geraniums. Brad Weir ordered this spring’s plants last year to reserve his choices before suppliers were picked over.

“Soon as we’re done with this year and we go get cleaned up, it’s time to go through the books and see what’s new and order the new flowers for next year in case there’s a shortage,” he explained. “It’s pretty much first come, first served for the growers. And there’s about four growers we use that we’ve had good luck with through the years.”

Weir’s also does good business in vegetable plants. The favorites are tomatoes, of which Brad Weir counted five varieties, and peppers, available in 15 options ranging from hot to sweet.

“We’ll raise about 500 trays of tomatoes a year and then about 250-300 trays of peppers,” he said.

Besides equipping gardeners for miles with pallets of greens, Weir’s Florist is well known for their popular bouquets. Brad Weir explained these blooms are not grown on site, instead arriving from South America and Canada by way of Terre Haute, Ind. Bouquets still represent a decent slice of Weir’s income, though sales trends are shifting to include more windchimes, decorative stones and sentimental keepsakes, according to Brad Weir. He is grateful for his employees Martha Fox, Linda Updegraff and Georgia Matthias for staying atop this side of the shop.

Weir’s Florist’s biggest competition are chain stores like Walmart and Rural King. Their biggest advantages are variety – Brad Weir admitted his greenhouses simply cannot grow everything, although with 120 flower varieties they are hardly a desert. Weir’s advantages are staying local, affordable and prioritizing customer service.

Brad Weir knows just what he wants to see in the future for Weir’s Florist.

“Just the support from the community for another 50 years.”

Weir’s Florist is located at 713 Clinton Rd. in Paris. More information about their greenhouses and bouquet offerings is available at weirsflorist.com, the Weir’s Florist Facebook page, or by calling (217) 465-4048.