The intoxicating beauty of flowers lures Kathryn Kroll to work every day.
Kroll has owned the historic floral shop Coddington’s Florist, at 12-14 Rose Avenue in Oneonta since 1991, when her father bought the business.
“My father was the golf pro at the Leatherstocking course (at the Otesaga) for 42 years,” Kroll said. “We just lost him last November. He believed small business was the heart and soul of a community. I had been working here four years when Mr. Coddington decided to retire. He talked to my father and they worked it out.”
Kroll graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with a degree in floriculture in the 1980s, and then went to Tucson, Ariz., to work in a designer flower shop. Whereas she says she loved Arizona and the exclusive shop, she missed her family. After six years in the desert, Kroll returned to Cooperstown.
“When I decided to come home, I started to apply for jobs here and there was a part-time position at Coddington’s,” Kroll said. “I was living in Coooperstown and I was having a hard time deciding whether or not to drive that far for a part-time job, when Mr. Coddington called me. He had someone quit unexpectedly and asked if I would consider a full-time job. I was so blessed, that was the beginning of a wonderful life.”
When Kroll and her family purchased the florist, there were some upgrading and maintenance surprises that had to be addressed when they arose. In addition, the market for fresh flowers has changed in the past 20 years. Most grocery stores, Walmart and many convenience markets have fresh flowers for sale; and the toll-free floral services often ship boxed flowers from hundreds of miles away.
“I remember before September 11, 2001, business was incredible,” Kroll said. “We would go to Binghamton a couple of times a week and get boxes of fresh flowers just boxed by local farmers. It is different now, most of the flowers come from South America and people can get flowers shipped anywhere. Of course the quality is so different. Have you ever smelled a grocery store flower?”