A new beginning for a local fixture
New owners of Peck’s Flowers preserve traditions while adding a modern twist
Marissa Stevens and her husband, James, officially took over the business on July 1 and are already in the process of updating the shop to accommodate more walk in service, while continuing to maintain the Peck’s Flowers quality the business has been known for since opening its doors in 1913.
“It’s exciting,” Marissa said on Wednesday at the shop. “We definitely want to keep a lot of things the same. [Peck’s Flowers] stayed in business and have been in good standing for so long that there are a lot of things that we’re not going to change, but we’re going to open up new markets and do new things and kind of modernize a little bit. We want to bring in more foot traffic by carrying small gifts [and such] to add on to flowers.”
Peck’s Flowers was established by Clarence Peck in 1913. After many years, the business switched hands to Clarence’s son, William Peck, who ran the business until his retirement in 1988. William then left the business to his son Bob Peck, who, with his wife Sally, ran the business until June, before passing it on to its new owners.
Marissa began working at Peck’s Flowers under Bob and Sally Peck in 2015, during which time she quickly acquired the knack for floral arrangements under the apprenticeship of Bob, himself a skilled flower arranger for many decades.
“I had done small things like centerpieces for friends’ and families’ weddings, and I’m generally kind of a crafty person,” Marissa said. “So [in 2015 I came] in and talked to [Bob and Sally]. They asked me to make arrangements as my interview. Oh my goodness, I was so scared. But Bob saw the potential and gave me the job. At first I only worked a couple days a week, but as time went on I liked it more and he needed me more, so I started working full time, and now here I am.”
Since 2015 under the tutelage of Bob, Marissa has developed her own unique understanding of the art and industry of the business — so much so that Bob entrusted her to not only take over the shop but to retain the Peck’s Flowers name.
“I guess I just picked things up pretty easily,” Marissa said. “[Bob] was definitely awesome to learn from. He knows how to do everything in the floral industry. And also, because he’s been doing it so long, and because times change and styles change, he’s had to learn everything along the way. He’s a good teacher. He told me once that he sees the potential and drive in me that he used to have when he was younger. That was one of the nicest compliments I think I’ve ever gotten. He was just letting me know that I’m meant to do this.”
One way Marissa is modernizing Peck’s Flowers is by sourcing more locally grown flowers, utilizing a “farm to florist” motto. From Three Root Peony Farm in Johnstown, Floral Root in Canajoharie, and Jayflora Flower Farm in Fonda, Peck’s Flowers is making increased use of local flower growers while still maintaining customer relations with wholesalers.
“I just love supporting local businesses. And now that we are one I think local businesses supporting other local businesses is huge. The farm to florist thing is something that I’ve been following on Instagram and Facebook and I just really love it. The flowers that are grown locally are just as beautiful as the ones we get flown in. So why not support the person down the street,” Marissa said. “I will always maintain good relationships with my wholesalers because we’re a year-round florist. This is upstate New York. I can’t not buy flowers from them, and a lot of times flower farms don’t have the specific things we need. But I definitely want to open up new ways of getting flowers in and supporting local growers.”
Marissa and James are currently in the process of giving the shop a “face-lift.” Their plan is to give the shop subtle modernizations, including a new paint job and a new flower cooler.
“We’re not really going to change too much. We’re just painting, opening things up, refreshing, cleaning up — making it new again,” Marissa said.
Marissa and James are planning on adding more gift items to Peck’s Flowers to get more people in the door. Marissa is also hoping to introduce various floral design workshops to increase their presence in the community.
“We want to bring in more foot traffic and we want to do workshops throughout the seasons,” Marissa said. “Around Christmas time we’ll do wreath workshops and centerpieces. In the fall, pumpkin centerpieces are really big. Just different things — making terrariums, making flower crowns.”
To celebrate the transition of ownership of Peck’s Flowers, Marissa and James are planning a grand opening event to take place later this year when the revamping of the shop is complete.
“It’s going to be an event. We’re going to invite everybody, but we’re going to hold off until we paint and get all of the gifty things in. We want to give people a wow factor first of all and just show how it has changed and give them a reason to shop around and look at the new things we have in,” Marissa said. “As of right now, not too much in here has changed, which isn’t a bad thing. It wasn’t bad to begin with but we want to put our twist [on things]. I want people to see the changes and know that [Peck’s Flowers] is in good hands.”
As for Bob and Sally Peck, they can still be found at their Northville location at 132 Division St., which has been rebranded The Flower Barn and Gift Shop, while the Peck’s Flower name remains in Gloversville, with Bob and Sally’s full blessing.
“Bob always tells me he’s just a phone call away and if I ever needed him for anything he would be here,” Marissa said. “Everything is very good between us. If I ever needed anything, he would absolutely come and help me. We just are excited to put our twist on things. There are a lot of markets that weren’t explored and we are excited to start exploring them.”