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Rochette’s marks 50 years

Sept. 1 will mark 50 years in business for Rochette’s Florist.

In 1969 Rochette Webb Allen, best known as Rochie, opened her florist shop on North Main Street in Downtown Farmville after purchasing what was Jessie Collins Florist.

“I love what I do,” said Allen. “I love the floral business, I love our loyal customers that often span generations, and I love to learn new floral arranging techniques through seminars and trade shows.”

Allen went on to say that each day that she enters the shop, she is confident that something interesting will happen that will enable them at the florist to brighten someone’s day.

When asked about her favorite experiences, she is quick to say how much she enjoys garden club demonstrations. “When you work with a group of individuals eager to learn new floral tips, it is especially rewarding,” she said. “We have not only provided programs to the loyal garden clubs in the Farmville community and surrounding counties, but there is one garden club in the Richmond area that we have provided five programs to over the years. Each experience is meaningful.”

Allen also said she remembers well the days when there were no silk flowers and no plastic flowers. “For funeral work, we would make paper flowers, then dip them in paraffin,” Allen explained. “Yes, it was delicate and diligent work, but they were quite beautiful. I learned how to make these creations and a great deal from my mother, Jennie Webb, who was in the floral business long before I established Rochette’s Florist.”

In 1985, Allen, with the help of her husband, Billie, moved the business from Main Street to its current location at 100 South Virginia Street.

In 1990, her son Sidney joined the business and continues to be its manager and master designer.

“I love to see what Sidney will come up with next,” said Allen “He has created arrangements depicting famous paintings, massive bookworms, peacocks, etc. As designers, however, we all enjoy the challenges of creating at customers’ request, such creations as stilettos, pink panthers, guitars, motorcycles, farm animals and much more.”

A one-time employee and loyal customer, Jennifer Wall said that Allen and her staff are consistently making a positive difference in the lives of others living in Southside Virginia.

“Not only are they a creative community-centered business, but they unselfishly donate to countless community needs,” said Wall. “Rochette’s makes significant contributions to the community through their floral creations and donations. Time, talent, and the best of flowers are given generously to all they serve.”

After all the years in business, Allen said she believes that customer service and experienced designers are what has helped her business stay strong for the past 50 years. “We are one of the few businesses that you can call and have a custom-made design made and delivered the same day.”

On Sunday, Sept. 1, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Rochette’s Florist will recognize and celebrate Allen’s 50 years in business.