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Helping to send joy, love, healing and peace


                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Christy Porter
Michelle Vestal, owner of Woody’s Flowers & Gifts, and her son, River, replenish the Class of 2020 Wildcat bows, which she is making available in honor of the graduating seniors.
By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

Woody’s Flowers & Gifts has been serving the community at 131 South Main St. for over 25 years. Michelle “Shelly” Vestal is the current owner/operator of Woody’s Flowers and Gifts and has been for the past five years. Prior to purchasing the floral shop, she worked for the previous owner of seven years, Kristy Fudge. Gary Hassell owned the shop prior to that.
“I worked for Kristy for a year before going to Town & Country Bank for three years. Even while working outside the flower business, I continued to do floral arrangements on the side. Having always done flowers and enjoying it, I made the decision to do it full time and bought the shop,” said Vestal.
It is a family operation, as her 16-year-old daughter, Jennsen, works at the shop when possible and Vestal’s 11-year old son, River, helps with the flower coolers and other jobs. Both children are also non-driver delivery people to in-town locations.
Vestal was born and raised in Licking and often knowingly customizes her floral arrangements. “Living in a small town, you know the people, their preferences and likes and dislikes. I try to incorporate that knowledge into an arrangement or recommendation, while adding my own personal touch,” expressed Vestal. That personal touch extends to offering comfort when appropriate. Vestal continues, “People come in struggling with life situations and I will pray with them or for them. To cheer them, I have been known to sing them a song. My faith is very much a part of my business. When purchasing floral arrangements or a selection from the jewelry, home décor or antiques that are available, you’re giving more than flowers or merchandise, more than words. You’re sending joy, love, healing and peace, I’m just the middle person.” It’s a perfect way to celebrate any occasion or to celebrate with no special occasion.
Woody’s, as with many small businesses, has been affected with the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Vestal has missed supplying the palm branches to local churches. With “Stay Home Missouri” orders in place, Palm Sunday services were not held at many church facilities.
School activities throughout the state, including Licking, have also been cancelled or modified. This includes the many activities for our graduating seniors. In honor of the Class of 2020, Vestal has made black and orange Wildcat bows, which are displayed on the railing at the front of the store. Graduates, family, friends and classmates of the Class of 2020 are welcome to select a bow from the railing. Vestal checks the railing each morning and replenishes as needed. She will continue to do so through April 30. After the end of the month, if you still would like to show your support for the seniors, she will take requests via Woody’s Flowers Facebook and Michelle Vestal’s personal Facebook pages. She is requesting that participants post pictures of their seniors and how they’re displaying the bows on Woody’s Flowers Facebook page. Store hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. They may be reached at 573-674-1355.

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