By: Tal Mizrachi
There are lilies, roses, gardenias, daisies, tulips, and just about all of them are bright and glowing with the colors of spring. Deep reds on the roses, and bright yellows on the daisies, while the tulips are still taking their time to bloom. The environment makes it feel warm and the entire shop is full of colors that make it seem like the spring season is here. This is the Flower Market, located across the street from the Gateway Mall in Springfield, Oregon, and it is home to dozens of different kinds of flowers.
Go a little further into the shop and Mary Statzer will be there with open arms and a warm smile welcoming anyone who might walk through the doors. As she stands at the counter, she looks around the shop and takes in everything that they have. She points out all the different flowers and picks up a few roses that she favors and brings them back to her counter to clean up the stems. She grabs a large sheet of plastic to protect them from the harshness of the counter and arranges them in such a way that it looks like she is creating a sculpture out of clay. She steps back to admire her creation then goes to the back counter to grab some extra stems to help the colors of the deep red and bright yellow swirled flowers pop. After putting them all together carefully and wrapping up the plastic so that it keeps the flowers in place but doesn’t hurt them, she goes to grab a large yellow ribbon. She then ties it in a beautiful bow around the plastic and sets the entire piece back down on the counter. “See? It really doesn’t take much to put together something small,” she says, as she admires what she has just put together for a future customer to purchase.
Statzer has been a resident of Springfield since 1980 and has been working with flowers for about thirty years, and has spent 27 of those years with the Flower Market located in the Gateway areas of Springfield across the street from the Gateway Mall.
Statzer says that she first got involved with flowers because of a job she had at a candles and gift store in the Valley River Center. The owners of that store had also owned a flower shop and they put her at a kiosk in the mall so that she could learn how to arrange flowers. “I just fell into it really,” she says. She also says that being a florist wasn’t a job that she was actively pursuing.
“It is not an easy, serene job. It’s very heavy work, you have to be in good shape, and in the type of shop this is, you have to have the mental capacity to be doing flower arrangements, stopping, waiting on a customer, multitasking, because you’re not just in a backroom designing,” says Statzer.
Statzer’s co-worker, Diana Steiner, agrees with Statzer but adds that she loves what she does because, “I just have this need to do that, and it’s fun.”
Steiner has known Statzer for years and the two have been working together on and off for many years. Steiner says that Statzer is, “one of my very dear friends…she’s special.”
Steiner says that Statzer has taught her a lot of what she knows when it comes to being a florist and adds, “That’s what Mary does, in any aspect of her life, she’s a teacher. She teaches, how to do, almost anything in the flower shop.”
Although Statzer says she would never recommend this job to young women because it is hard work and not very rewarding pay wise, her passion for what she does shines through in her work. The simple bouquet that she put together is one of many arrangements that she made that are displayed around the shop to be sold and admired by future customers.
“When you’re a florist, you’re also a counselor, a bartender, you’re all those things, because people come in and obviously you hear a lot of life stories because we deal with people that are in grief, having babies, having parities, having weddings, mad at the world,” Statzer says.
But while she adds that she has to be all these different roles for people, she also says that the interaction with customers is her favorite part of being a florist and that she loves being able to make a difference in people’s everyday lives.