Sunday, February 7, 2016

Lasting arrangement: Coggins Flowers and Gifts marks 60 years


Lasting arrangement: Coggins Flowers and Gifts marks 60 years

Jim Coggins, left, his daughter Lori and grand-daughter Karlee, 5, at Coggins Flowers and Gifts on North Church Street in Spartanburg.
Published: Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 5, 2016 at 3:17 p.m.
The beautiful arrangements in the back of Jim Coggins’ floral shop remind him that growing a small business requires patience, hard work and attention to detail.

“It’s just what you’ve got to do if you want to build something that’s going to last,” said Coggins, owner of Coggins Flowers and Gifts at 800 N. Church St. near Spartanburg Medical Center.
This year, the store will celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Coggins’ parents, the late Helen and Walter Coggins, opened the flower store behind a barber shop on North Church Street in 1956, the same year Coggins was born. The idea grew out of his mother's passion for arranging roses grown in her own garden. Both of his parents went on to study design at Finley’s Floral School in Greenville.

Coggins said he started working in the shop when he turned 5. He swept the floors and watched his parents create beautiful bouquets.

Now, he has brought his son, Brad, and daughter, Lori, into the fold. His wife, Ginger, also contributes at the shop. And his granddaughter, Karlee, who is 5, has just started to show an interest, giving Coggins hope that the store might continue to a fourth generation.

“I’ve been reading about some local businesses turning 50,” Coggins said. “I was thinking, we’ve got them beat by 10 years. … It’s pretty rare in the flower business to find a shop that has been around that long and still owned by the same family.”

When Coggins was still a child, his parents moved their business to a former grocery store closer to the hospital.

In 1969, the shop moved across the street into a new structure that was built on the site of a former gas station at 800 N. Church St. It has remained there for the past 44 years.

Coggins was able to salvage the business’s old sign, which now hangs inside the store, from the grocery store before it was demolished.

Coggins took over the reins of the business in 1981. The senior Coggins, who also worked part-time as a night watchman, died in 1992.

Helen Coggins continued to help out at the shop on holidays until her death in 2011. She was 92. Her last day at the shop was on Valentine's Day.

Coggins said his parents would be happy to see the business thriving.

“It’s tough,” he said. “You have to work long hours and stay focused. … It means a lot to me that we are turning 60. I’m glad I can have the opportunity, because you just don’t see that anymore.”

Coggins said the Great Recession hit his business hard between 2008 and 2010. In 2011, sales began to bounce back and have continued to grow every year.

He credits increased marketing efforts and a commitment to quality products and service for the comeback.

“Making sure we do the right thing,” he said. “That has been very important.”

Lori Coggins said she is optimistic about the future of the business.

“Some days are tougher than other,” she said. “Overall, it has been a great experience to work alongside my dad and learn from him, to work together as a family.”

Thank you, Trevor Anderson for writing such a nice story about our 60 years in business. We look forward to many more years.