On February 10, 1974, a small flower shop opened up out of the dining room of the Wilkey house in Kanab. “I opened my floral shop because at the time there was no dedicated place to get flowers in Kanab.” Sandy Wilkey explains her reasoning for founding her flower shop in the first place. “Sure, you could go to the drug store and put in an order … but they’d have to send all the way to St. George for it.”
The flower shop went from place to place, finding four locations over the course of two years, until it finally settled in its long-time home. Now, Kanab Floral and Ceramic stands at 226 South 100 East, next to Glazier’s Marketplace. “And I had to fight for this little building too - but I knew I wanted my flower shop right here.”
At the time, Wilkey also did ceramic making, and wedding decorating and catering along with the flowers; she’s since phased out the decor and food parts, focusing now on the flowers and the ceramics. In fact, along with selling the in-house crafted ceramics, Wilkey hosts ceramic classes in the shop - Monday for the kids and Tuesdays for adults.
“They told me a flower shop would never make in a town the size of Kanab. They said ten thousand people was about what a flower shop needed to succeed. Well, I’m a bit bull-headed.” Wilkey said with a smile.
Now, here the flower shop stands, a little more than a year shy of its fiftieth anniversary. “I’m just so grateful to my family and all my employees, past and future.” Wilkey remarked. “For now, it’s pretty much a family operation. I run the place with my husband, and my grandkids come in to help, especially around the holidays. Mother’s Day rolls around and I’ve got a great delivery crew with my sons’ in-laws … but I’ve trained a lot of people to do this job and I hope to train more. I love people, I love my employees, my family, my customers...”
Now, with almost half a century of business coming up, Wilkey has some credit to give and some plans to make going forward. “I’ve worked with the Mosdells [Mortuary] for years. Dennis was a great guy, and now his kids are great too … The Glazier’s own [the lot and the building], and they’ve treated me right.
“I’ve been doing this job for 48 years, and I have no intention of retiring. That’s the thing about this job; you have to be passionate, to love it to keep doing it, and I do … if the Lord will give me a week’s notice, I’ll put together the arrangement to put on my casket. It’s a service people need.
“I’m there for the good times - weddings, valentines, Mothers’ day, birthdays, anniversaries. And I’m here when people are grieving for the loss of a loved one. I can put a little more of myself into it, because I’ve been there. I noticed there wasn’t a flower shop in Kanab in the first place … we lost our baby, that’s why I opened my flower shop in the first place. It’s a needed service.”
In just a few months, Kanab Floral and Ceramic will celebrate its forty-ninth anniversary. Folks from the local community offer best wishes to Wilkey and her store and hopes for a happy fiftieth. If anyone would like to contact Sandy Wilkey at Kanab Floral and Ceramic, call (435)-644-2991.