A Flowering Business
By Sandie Tillery
Sixty-Five Years With Mallery's Florist and Gift Shop Story by: Sandie Tillery Photos by: Kara Stewart
Sixty-five years ago, 19-year-old Reva and her parents visited a new business in town, Mallery’s Nursery and Florist (then located on the corner of Pine and Placer streets in Redding) to order flowers for Reva’s upcoming wedding to Cledert (Dick) Richard. Theirs was the first wedding arranged by Mildred and Richard Mallery. In October 2011, one of Mildred and Richard’s grandsons delivered an anniversary arrangement ordered by the Richards’ daughter Susie, an annual tradition. The Richards remain faithful patrons to a business that has helped them celebrate births, birthdays, anniversaries and other momentous events since that first one in 1945.
Since 1946, Mallery’s Florist and Gift Shop has been at the crossroads of South Market Street before it meanders down the hill into a fork that leads east on Cypress Street or south on Highway 273. The wrap-around windows once greeted two-way traffic along the old Highway 99/Interstate 5 corridor. Floral displays festooned the sunny corner for all to see while the rest of the building served as a plant nursery and workshop. Now, with I-5 bypassing them on the other side of the Sacramento River and three lanes of one-way traffic pointing away from those sunny windows, Mallery’s has joined the 21st century, doing business not from walk-in traffic so much as over the phone and on the internet. In their case, the old real estate mantra “location, location, location” simply means that they occupy a spot in Redding’s history—a landmark notable for three generations of one family growing up, working hard and carving out their place in this community.
Rick remembers being one of the nine Mallery kids walking up and down Market Street plunking nickels into parking meters. They placed a card on each windshield that read, “Passed your meter and saw your time was up. Put in a nickel to save you a buck. Mallery’s Florist.” Today, some call that creative marketing. Then, it was a neighborly gesture that paid dividends.
Richard and Mildred also liked to acknowledge births at the local hospitals, sending a small live plant with a note to each new parent with a personal saying, “Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs._______, on the birth of your child. We have nine children of our own and know what a blessed event this is for you.” The notes were handwritten and signed by the Mallerys. Today, with privacy issues and a burgeoning population in Redding, Mallery’s Florist now relies on 66 years of goodwill, friendly service and 21st-century advertising practices.
Mallery’s continues to offer a full menu of floral arrangements and displays for every occasion. Rick Mallery came home from Chico State College, where he had been studying electrical engineering, to take over the business in 1970 when his father was ready to retire. Just over 17 years ago, Joan answered an ad for part-time work, and over time, a budding romance grew into a lifelong partnership for Rick and Joan Mallery. They continue to run the business with several employees, including Richard and Mildred’s grandson, Richard III. Rick’s mother Mildred worked in the shop until shortly before her death in September 2006.
Rick’s engineering training and Joan’s background in floral design have been challenged with commissions to create some massive installations for business events, such as the opening celebration for Shasta Regional Medical Center’s laser center. Joan says they are no longer surprised by unusual requests. They have created floral replicas of salmon, deer, horse heads, eagles, boxing gloves and fishing creels. From the beautiful to the bizarre, the celebration of new babies to the memorializing of the deceased, Mallery’s has stepped up to the challenge, while also creating traditional Valentine’s Day arrangements, prom corsages and all the other fragrant and colorful floral orders that come their way.
www.mallerysflowers.com 2172 Market St, Redding Toll Free: 800-291-7673 Local: 530-243-0434