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Longmont Local: Three generations have put personal spin on local gift giving

Longmont Florist has stayed in the Golter family for more than 50 years.

Nate Golter has worked in his family’s multi-generational flower shop Longmont Florist since he was young. He plans on continuing the family tradition and taking over the business that his grandfather and parents built.

Longmont Florist has stayed in the Golter family for more than 50 years. The multi-generational shop has supplied locals with floral arrangements and gifts since its founding in 1969. Gary Golter, the original owner of the going-on-three generation shop, purchased the flower shop from another family business, Miller’s Flowers, who ran the business out of their home. The Golters renovated the house at 614 Coffman St where the shop still stands today.

In 1999, Longmont Florist’s current owners, Gary’s son and daughter-in-law Brad and Lisa Golter, purchased the business. Lisa said her father-in-law was a florist by trade. Brad was more of a businessman than a designer when the couple took over, she said. It was important to keep the family business alive.

“It's enticing for family members to just continue the successes,” Lisa said.

Lisa and Brad’s son Nate will be the third Golter to own Longmont Florist in July next year. Nate currently works as the shop’s general manager.

Along with Nate, other family members are sprinkled throughout the flower shop. Nate said his aunt is a manager, his brother-in-law helps with customer service and his siblings still help with deliveries during the holidays.

Since before he can remember, Nate has helped out with the flower shop. He recalled missing school on Valentine’s Day to help prepare orders with his three younger siblings. Nate said he developed a work ethic growing up in Longmont Florist, having to work weekends and holidays. Though he might have complained as a kid, he appreciates the experience as an adult.

Nate said he is both nervous and excited to take over the business next year since his parents and grandparents successfully ran it for more than 50 years. One of the factors he attributes Longmont Florist’s longevity is its dedication to meeting customers’ needs, such as delivering on days that the business is closed.

“I remember times when I was a kid where my dad would have a flower arrangement sitting in the living room because he had to make a delivery at 7 a.m. the next morning,” Nate said. “A lot of places would probably say ‘No, we can't deliver that early.’ But growing up my parents' attitude was always, ‘Yeah,’ so I do think our customer service is pretty exceptional.”

Longmont Florist is an everyday flower shop, Nate said, and they create arrangements for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. The shop also supplies events including weddings and celebrations of life.

The family-owned florist offers other gifts, but Lisa said flowers are a special present because people don’t often purchase them for themselves. Nate added that Longmont Florists’ mission is about gift-giving.

“We're helping people say, ‘I love you. I care for you. I'm thinking about you. I'm sorry,’” Nate said. “I think the core of the [florist] industry is really an admirable thing. So I think we really serve a need here in Longmont and it's a really cool industry to be a part of.”

Earlier into the pandemic, events and regular flower sales to decorate businesses such as restaurants and hotel lobbies, dried up. But Longmont Florist continued selling the gift of floral arrangements through deliveries. 

The family flower shop created a subscription program last year. Customers can sign up online for weekly or monthly flowers or monthly plants. Nate said Longmont Florist started the program to add natural beauty to the indoors as more people worked from home.

Longmont Florist already offered delivery before the pandemic — it’s been a long time top 50 florists for a national wire service company Teleflora — but Lisa said new customers saw the value in sending flowers. She added that gifting flowers increased in popularity for Mother’s Day and birthdays.

“I think any company who was delivering at the beginning of the pandemic kind of was golden because if you offered delivery that became such an important part of people being able to communicate with family members,” Lisa said.

Though events returned, the pandemic still affects Longmont Florist by disrupting the company’s supply chain. Lisa said they were concerned about receiving an order on one of their most popular Christmas centrepieces and temporarily put a hold on the product on their website. The florist ordered the item back in May.

Nate said one vendor is just now shipping an order they placed more than a year ago. He added that Longmont Florist typically carries a wide range of flower varieties and could easily accommodate specific requests. But some flower types are coming in with some inconsistencies in color or they aren’t receiving all of their varieties. Lisa said they have just adapted and tapped into their creativity when they are lacking a specific flower.

The Golters attributed their staff of 24 people for pushing through the changes of the last couple of years. Lisa said their longtime staff has supported the 50-plus-year run of Longmont Florist, adding that a now-retired staff member stayed with the company for 38 years.

Like the Golter family, there are family connections throughout the flower shop, Nate said, noting a design manager’s husband drives the deliveries and another designer’s daughter works at the store part-time. 

Family being a common theme of Longmont Florist’s history, Nate wants to lay down a foundation for his own children to build on one day. He said his parents never forced him into the family business and doesn’t want to pressure his two young kids and baby on the way. However, he is building the framework for a fourth Golter to take over Longmont Florist.

“I think really the work of the next couple of years will be to carve out what the vision will be for the business for when it turns into a fourth-generation shop,” Nate said. “I very much made this decision on my own to come into the business, and I respect my parents for that, and I want to definitely maintain that type of attitude with my own kids. But I still think it would be a cool legacy one day to have them at least have the option.”