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Long-time business leaves North English Main Street

By ANDREA FURLONG

flowers
Knipfer Flowers closed two weeks ago after 18 years in business on Main Street in North English. Former owner Mary Beth Knipfer said declining sales over the last two years led to her decision.

After 18 years in business on Main Street, Knipfer Flowers has closed.

The business, owned and operated by Mary Beth Knipfer, left North English’s downtown business district two weeks ago due to a decline in sales. Knipfer said she tried to weather higher prices from suppliers, while offering her customers the best deal she could, but other area businesses undercut her price. The turning point came four months ago on Valentine’s Day.

“The economy and sales have really been down the last two years. We  decided if a big holiday wasn’t going to make it, there was no need to put any more money into it,” she said.

Knipfer purchased the shop from her brother-in-law, Darren Knipfer, in 1992, and changed the name from Knipfer’s Flower Bouquet to Knipfer Flowers. One year later she moved the business from the old Sauter building to 111 S. Main Street, and fashioned it into a flower store and gift shop. Later, she added custom embroidery, silk screen and vinyl graphics work, including custommade English Valleys apparel.

Knipfer also made it into a family business, with each of her four children (Linda, Betsy, Kile and Jaime) working there at some point in their lives.

“Jaime was 10 months old when we started out and she just graduated this year, so she pretty much grew up there,” she said.

Knipfer now works as a service associate for Bill Schaefer at Iowa County Farm Bureau. She will continue to offer custom embroidery, silk screen and vinyl graphics work from her home. She will take orders via phone at (319) 664-3308 or (319) 325-7793.

Knipfer declined to disclose the building’s new owner, but did say she is uncertain of the owner’s plans for the building.

UPDATED June 9, 2010 3:11 PM

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