Community Unity Featured Business: Arlyne's Flowers


ATASCADERO There’s not many shops, even in a small town, that are still run by the third generation of the same family.

Established in 1950, moved to its current location in 1954 and run by current owner Jaynee Orcutt since 1973, Arlyne’s Flowers on Palma Avenue in downtown Atascadero should be doing more celebrating this month. After all, Sept. 1 marked both the owner’s 45th wedding anniversary with Jeff Orcutt and the same anniversary of them buying the shop from her mother, Arlyne Casper, for whom the shop was named, and her grandmother Charleen Highfill Bliss.

But, marking the milestones at the shop itself has never really been their style says Orcutt, instead they’re used to helping other people get ready for an occasion, often last minute, although it’s always better to call ahead.

“It’s a people business all the way through,” she says, adding that it takes constant creativity while being sensitive to the needs of the customer. 

Not the only florist in town, but possibly the most established, their arrangements can be seen at most every occasion in town, big and small, from memorial services to weddings, bridal showers and baby showers, with some birthdays and “just because” thrown in.

In business for so long, they’ve been involved from birth to death and all points in between in the lives of local families.

Along the way they’ve noticed that sometimes a stereotype can ring true, Orcutt notes, admitting that their most popular little card to go along with a bouquet is the, “man in a doghouse” caricature card.

True as well that men don’t always know what to get, she says, “they may only be thinking of the classic red rose when a variegated orange rose would be more beautiful for what they need.”

But, contrary to popular wisdom, “men do like to get flowers,” and they’ve got a wide array of themed items and baskets to help out that “just because” category.

One of the advantages of having the store in the converted duplex across from City Hall all these years is that the Orcutt’s were able to raise a family out of the shop, while keeping busy with, “the best job you can have,” she said.

However, entering what some would consider retirement age, and with her own daughters moved away to start their own lives, the florist is considering the future.

“I’m really proud of what our town’s young people are doing in downtown,” she said. “We’ve seen shops come and go but seeing young people stepping up and building something makes me happy.”

It makes her think too that it could be time to hand the bouquet over to a young entrepreneur who wants her job, if she can find the right one. 

It would be hard to quit though, “no two days are the same. That keeps me coming in every morning looking forward to that, enjoying being part of the community everyday.”

Orcutt recommends typing their name in to Yelp.com or going to their website www.arlynesflowersandgifts.com for an idea of what to order, or dropping by Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

PHOTO BY CAMAS FRANK

Jaynee Orcutt is the owner of Arlyne’s Flowers in Atascadero. The business was established by her mother and grandmother.

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