A flower shop that grew from humble beginnings in Shaw into a flourishing Oldham business has celebrated its 40th anniversary.
To mark the occasion they organised a party for customers old, new and current plus former staff, at their premises for the last 35 years on Huddersfield Road.
Barbara Jackson, who lives in Low Crompton, was just 18 when she set up her first Miller’s Florist outlet on Shaw high street in 1977.
Five years later she uprooted her blossoming business and re-planted it in her present shop.
“It doesn’t seem like 40 years even though things have changed a lot,” Barbara told the Independent.
“I can’t see myself retiring any time soon because I am so hands on.
“People think it is nice playing with flowers but it can be stressful. But I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
That personal touch has enabled the family enterprise to branch out over the past four decades.
Miller’s customers – some in Australia and Canada – are drawn from a 7,000-strong database.
They’ve provided bouquets to the stars and ordered for 240 yellow roses for one romantic gentleman intent on celebrating his wedding anniversary!
“I started as a work experience girl at a shop in Middleton when I was 16,” explained Barbara, one of nine part and full-time staff now working in the Oldham shop.
“I finished up practically running the shop and my mum (Norma) said ‘why don’t you do it for yourself?’
‘Fortunately, my dad had a farm and acted as guarantor for the expense of opening it up. So, I had to make it work.
“Mum joined me in the business because we were so busy and we used to go to College together.”
Five years on and a call from a local estate agent alerted Barbara to the current premises.
“But you can’t give that personal touch in two places at once.” She said, “So, I sold the shop in Shaw because the premises in Oldham were much bigger.”
Barbara, a Miller before marriage, has certainly seen the business evolve.
“There are flowers available now that you couldn’t get 40 years ago. But people still want their roses, carnations and lilies.
“Then of course there is the technology. I remember my husband watching a programme all about the internet and telling me it was going to be big news.
“He as right and now we have developed a good website plus the extensive database.”