Columbia flower shop celebrates 20 years

Pam Haberl is pictured at Memory Lane Gifts and Floral on North Main Street in Columbia. (Robyn Dexter photo)

After thousands of floral arrangements and hours of hard work, Memory Lane Gifts and Floral is celebrating 20 years in business in Columbia.

Pam Haberl, the owner of Memory Lane, said her passion has always been for horticulture.

“My dream has always been to open my own shop,” she said. “When I was in high school, I started working for a greenhouse in North Dakota, where I’m from.”

In 1985, when she moved to Monroe County, Haberl worked for a florist, which helped her realize even more that she wanted to open her own place.

Haberl and a friend she was working with at the time decided to begin the process of starting their own business.

“In August of 1993, we started getting companies together and looking for a place to be,” she said.

The original Memory Lane Gifts and Floral, which was located in Columbia Centre by Market Place, was added on by Joe Koppeis because he thought a floral business would be good in the plaza.

“He built our building, and the week of Thanksgiving in 1993, we opened,” she said.

Haberl and her business partner, Donna Wetzel, were together in the business for seven years.

When Wetzel retired, Haberl continued the business.

“Seven years ago, I moved up on to Main Street,” she said. “It was a good move, because I was at the old location for 13 years and just wanted a change of scenery.”

Originally, the shop did a lot of business with collectibles, but Haberl said people just aren’t collecting like they used to, so she downsized a little.

The shop does a lot of business for funerals and bereavement, along with silks and fresh flowers.

Haberl said the busiest times of the year are Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the Christmas season in general.

High school homecomings and proms also bring in plenty of customers wanting corsages and boutonnieres.

Right now, the shop’s employees are getting ready for the new year.

“We’ll see what that has in store for us here,” she said.

One thing that is disheartening is the number of florists in the area who are no longer in business, Haberl said.

“They’ve been good friends of mine, and I feel very fortunate that I have been able to keep going,” she said.

She looks forward to each new year because each year has brought an increase in sales and customers.

“That’s always good news for people in the small business world,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the new year with my great employees; we’re like a family here.”

Though the 20-year mark is here, Haberl said it feels like just yesterday that her business opened.

“It really means a lot to reach this milestone,” she said. “I’d love to go for another 20 (years) if Columbia will let me.”

For more information on Memory Lane Gifts and Floral, visit the shop at 515 N. Main Street or call 281-4538.

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