After 31 years, Freemans plan to sell business, retire
An Olde Pickerington Village florist shop that has served the community for more than three decades is closing.
BJ's Bouquets, 18 W. Columbus St., will close by the end of December.
Owners Barbara and Tim Freeman, who have filled Pickerington-area homes with roses, tulips, poinsettias and other blossoms since Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency in 1981, will retire and sell their business.
They will leave along with two dedicated employees, floral designer Carol Smith, who as worked for BJ's more than 28 years, and delivery driver Ruth Knoll, who has 25 years of service.
"Olde Village Pickerington is a wonderful place," said Barbara Freeman.
"We're going to miss all of our friends and customers with whom we've shared their joys and sorrow with our flowers over the past 32 years."
Freeman said she's proud to have been part of the Olde Village's transformation from relative dormancy into a vibrant business district.
"When we first came here years ago (Olde Village) was quite dilapidated," she said. "Then it went through a revitalization."
Freeman said her own building has been extensively renovated since the couple purchased it in 1991.
"We made a lot of changes in our building, it really looks great," she said.
"I have more people wanting to buy the building rather than the business," Freeman said.
According Maggie Arendt of the Pickerington-Violet Historical Society, the historic building was built in 1871 by Cyrus Smith.
The Smith family operated a grocery store on the first floor and lived upstairs and in the small downstairs wing that eventually became BJ's Bouquets. From the 1920s though the 1960s the building was a dry goods store called Newlon's General Store.
BJ Bouquets initially occupied a small wing on the east side of the building when it opened in 1981 and 10 years later to include the entire lower level.
Freeman said she hopes another community-oriented florist will come in and buy the business.
"I have a few interested florists, hopefully that's going be their decision."
She said being a florist in a community such as Pickerington has a gratifying experience.
"We pretty much know about all the different things that happen in people's lives, both the happy and the sad," she said.
"It has been rewarding. We've gotten to know so many people and made a lot of wonderful memories."
After thirty-two years full-time in the business, the question of what to do in retirement is now the Freemans' primary focus.
"We may just relax first, then maybe do some traveling," Barbara Freeman said.
"We haven't had a lot of time to spend with friends and family. We want to do more of that, that's really important to us."