Business Blooming for Merged Flower Shops

Grinnell’s two well-loved flower shops have merged. On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Flowers by DZyne bought Bates Flowers and Greenhouses, and have renamed the store “Bates Flowers by DZyne.”

The new store is located in Flowers by DZyne’s current store on 813 4th Avenue.

“On March 1, we moved all of Bates’ fresh flowers and plants to this store,” said Cynthia Sherman, the owner of Flowers by DZyne.

“We did what most people take six months to do and did it in a week,” said Jim White, the owner of Bates Flowers.

The new partnership came after Grinnell College offered to purchase the Bates Flowers and Greenhouses property, located on 1012 Broad Street, on February 23.

Bates’ last day at the old property was February 28, and Bates Flowers by Dzyne had its first day of business under its new name on March 2.

“President Kington has a vision for developing the town of Grinnell and part of that block is in his vision,” White said. “I think it’s very forward-thinking of President Kington to want to help downtown and make our downtwon better. I appreciate all Grinnell College is doing to the town … and I wasn’t going to stand in the way of progress.”

White and Sherman had known each other since 1976, when Sherman moved into Grinnell. Even though their flower shops could have made them competitors, they built a genuine camaraderie over the years.

“I want her to succeed. She wants me to succeed,” White said.

The partnership has had positive reactions from people in the community.

“We have customers that traded with both of us, because it’s in Grinnell, and they feel obligated to do that,” Sherman said. “Now they’re coming in and saying, ‘This is fantastic. We’ve got both of you together!’”

The employees of Flowers by DZyne will remain, but it is still undecided as to which employees from Bates Flowers and Greenhouses will work for Bates Flowers by DZyne.

“We may bring someone over that he had, but we haven’t gotten that worked out yet,” Sherman said.

The new store will have a special “happy hour” at the end of the day.

“The last hour of every day all of our fresh, loose cut flowers are on half price,” Sherman said.

White and Sherman’s new combined store is located in downtown Grinnell at 813 4th Ave. Photo by Sarah Ruiz.

White and Sherman’s new combined store is located in downtown Grinnell at 813 4th Ave. Photo by Sarah Ruiz.

Bates Flowers and Greenhouses was a historic business in Grinnell, and was founded in 1909 by Roy Bates. The store has been in its current location since 1938. White bought it from Bates’ grandson in 1970, and has been the owner since.

“[Bates] was the first in Grinnell and Poweshiek County to have flowers, a food counter and a drug store all together,” White said.

Past Grinnellians who have worked for Bates Flowers include Robert Noyce ’49, who was a delivery boy, and former President of the College and current Professor Emeritus George Drake ’56, History, who worked as a hall guy, taking orders in the residence halls.

“Hundreds more young men and women sold flowers and corsages for us in the days when they had formal dances,” White recollected.

White’s first job was as a dietitian at a hospital, and he worked at a friend’s flower store as a side job.

“I worked there on Saturdays and after work and on Sundays and then I got hooked and I went to design school,” Bates said.

Sherman was a customer at Bates Flowers and Greenhouses before she opened her own store, which was originally called Flowers on Fourth. After changing owners several times, the current store was reopened in 2014 under the name Flowers by DZyne.

Along with floral arrangements for occasions such as birthdays, holidays and other special occasions, Flowers by DZyne also offers handmade chocolates, tuxedo rentals and event-planning services.

Despite having sold his store, White plans on working in the flower business as long as he can. “I don’t want to give it up,” he said. “You sell sentiment. You sell people’s feelings. We have people from the beginning of life to death and we share every happy and sad occasion with you. … It’s the most rewarding thing.”