November 14, 2018
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Cottage Industry

Change in careers lead to flower power
Tom Carter and Mike Jewell opened Cottage Florist & Gifts on Lincoln Avenue in 1999.

When Mike Jewell and Tom Carter decided to change their career paths, the idea of opening their own flower shop, Cottage Florist & Gifts, started to bloom.

Jewell has been surrounded by flowers since he was in high school in Vincennes, Indiana. After he graduated, he worked in various shops in the Tri-State before returning to Vincennes to open his first store, Jewels Flowers, which he later sold before moving to Evansville.

While his business partner was already an established florist, Carter grew up in the Madisonville, Kentucky, area and worked on his grandfather’s farm. He spent 22 years at Kroger as manager in the meat department and occasionally worked with Jewell creating arrangements during busy holiday seasons.

“He was getting tired of the meat business and I was getting tired of where I was,” says Jewell with a laugh. “We saw this building was for lease and the next thing I knew, we were signing a contract.”

Nestled in a 19th century home located at 1024 Lincoln Ave., Cottage Florist opened almost 16 years ago and specializes in fresh and silk floral arrangements, blooming plants, and gift items. Placing their business in the house seemed like a perfect choice for the two florists.

“I think it just has a lot of character,” says Jewell. “The shops that always appealed to me were in older Victorian houses.”

A large bay window display beckons customers passing by and familiar floral smells greet them upon entering. Moving about the store is easy as patrons take in the creative arrangements, all well coordinated through each spacious room. Other gift items dot the displays as well. The rooms and shelves of the store contain candlesticks, chimes, decorative vases, stone benches, and more.

Though the business of flowers has changed over the years, both Jewell and Carter say they enjoy the creativity of the job.

“You get really hectic sometimes, but then you get a phone call and people say, ‘Oh I just got the most beautiful arrangement,’ and that makes you feel good,” says Jewell.

“I like doing it all, especially creating my own creation,” adds Carter. “We kind of pride ourselves in the designs. We want people, when they see an arrangement, to think, ‘That’s got to come from the Cottage.’ That’s the reputation we want.”

For more information about Cottage Florist & Gifts, call 812-434-0094 or visit cottagefloristandgifts.com or its Facebook page.

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