Flowers can symbolize many things: hope, celebration, sadness, anniversaries—or can be given simply just because. Crismon’s Flowers in Mesa has made it their priority to create and deliver quality flowers to their customers for almost 80 years.
When Virgil and Helen Crismon opened Crismon’s Flowers at 10 N. McDonald St. in Mesa in October 1938, the flower business was much different than it is today. Orders were taken in person and hand-delivered—sometimes by the Crismons themselves.
Virgil and Helen’s son Charlie Crismon, who owned Crismon’s Flowers for a time before selling the business, mentioned a letter his mother wrote back in 1943 that helps demonstrate the changing times.
“My mother wrote this story for Christmas in 1943, it says: ‘We had planned to have dinner with his folks, but had trouble getting work out at the shop. Virgil had worked through the night before so I went delivering with him to keep him awake, I also took the flowers up to the doors.
The Valley was growing and many streets and houses weren’t numbered or well-marked, this made the delivery part of our business very time consuming.
I suppose we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves when we finally located a serviceman’s wife in Scottsdale. When we gave the woman her flowers, she looked at the card, burst into tears and said, ‘Thank you so very much, at least I know he was still alive to order these.’ Then she explained that she hadn’t heard from her husband in months and he was on one of the battlefronts.
The date of this letter was quite recent for us, this incident helped us to get our sense of perspective back. We felt ashamed of ourselves, we were at least together with three lovely children and another on the way, we were making a good living and Virgil’s health seemed to be getting better. We finished delivering flowers and finally reached my grandparents’ at just about dark.’
The letter signifies the changing nature of the florist business, said Crismon.
“The flower business is kind of unique…. you’re basically conveying feelings through gifts of flowers for all different occasions. So, you become kind of a consultant to your customers for their birthdays and deaths and anniversaries and it’s kind of a real neat experience.”
Through the years, Crismon’s Flowers has had four different locations. The shop opened in 1938 at 10 N. McDonald St., then moved to 25 E. Main St. in 1947, in 1989, they located to 55 E. Main St. before its final transplant in 1994 to its current address, 144 W. Main St.
Crismon ran the business for a bit before selling it to D’Ann Davis, Michelle and Steve Minlove in 1994—they own and operate the shop at the current location.
“When I go down there, it takes me back. It makes me feel they still have a lot of the personal contact you need with customers and the good service,” Crismon said. “I think if they didn’t do a good job at designing and delivering in a timely manner, that you’d be out of business in a short time. That’s kind of what you build your business on, is good service and good product. I’ve been proud of them ever since they took over and felt like I sold the business at the right time for them and for me.”
The current shop also brought along items from the other shop locations, such as the neon “Crismon’s Flowers” sign and they use the large walk-in wooden refrigerator—both dating back to 1947.
Crismon’s Flowers has been able to provide their customers with quality service and flowers for years, as their 80th anniversary approaches next year, it seems they have a successful operation model that puts their flowers and customers first.
To learn more about the shop, visit CrismonsFlowers.com.
– Mesa resident Alyssa Tufts is a freelance reporter for MyNewsMesa.