HARTLEY—Downtown Hartley has seen many stores come and go in recent years, but Jackie’s Floral Center has been there for a while and shows no signs of slowing down.
Jackie Stoltz, the founder and owner of Jackie’s Floral Center, has been in business for nearly 40 years in downtown Hartley.
“I purchased the business in October 1982,” Stoltz said. “I’ve been here a long time.”
Jackie’s Floral Center sells an array of products from flowers to locally made wine, from Jim McDonough albums to smartphone accessories. There is certainly something for everyone here.
After running the business for nearly four decades, Stoltz is looking to take some time off from the job.
“I’m at the age where I am ready to cut back and slow down. I would like to have somebody here that I could say, ‘I’m leaving for the weekend,’” Stoltz said.
She does have two part-time employees help her throughout the week, but she has been looking for someone who could one day take over the business.
Stoltz briefly contemplated being closed on Mondays, but decided it was not the best route to go since it would not work well for her business and customers.
What has kept her in business for so long and what inspires her to keep the business running are the customers. However, she has said running a business in a small town has become more challenging, especially with other stores in downtown Hartley closing, meaning less foot traffic in her store.
“One gal that worked for me part-time, who used to work at the Sheldon Hallmark store, said ‘It’s just too easy for people to get on that four-lane and go to Sioux City.’ It’s a struggle for small businesses and small towns,” Stoltz said.
She said there certainly are some benefits to residents of having a business like hers in a small town like Hartley.
“The advantage is that we are the only business in town that does fresh flowers. I do supply the grocery store with a space in a cooler, so after hours, people can pick up a vase,” Stoltz said.
She also does not want to close her store and have it be another loss for Hartley.
“What motivates me the most to keep this place open is that I don’t want the community to lose another business. My kids say, ‘You just need to lock the door and walkaway,’ but I can’t do that. We’ve lived here 48 years. I just can’t do that,” Stoltz said.
She said the only reason she would close the shop for good would be for her well-being.
“I have battled cancer and I had a stem cell transplant 10 years ago and so because of that, probably the health,” Stoltz said. “I’ve been very blessed but health wise, I’ve got to think about me. That would be the deciding factor.”