Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the March 16 print edition of The Times-Sentinel. Subscribe to get Cheney news every week, delivered to your mailbox. Call 316-540-0500.
By Travis Mounts
CHENEY – A photo sent by a friend led April Smith and her business partner, Sheila Henning, to purchase Flower Fair in Cheney.
They have Molly O’Shea, a friend of Smith’s and a loan officer with Citizens State Bank in Cheney, to thank.
“She sent me a picture of the store and said it was available,” Smith said from the Cheney store on Monday. “Were were all-in right away.”
The duo took over on March 1, reopening as Cleo’s.
Henning and two other partners opened Cleo’s Handcrafted Items in downtown Kingman in April 2000. Smith became a partner about five years ago. They operated the business as a full-service flower shop, then expanded into gifts and food. They bought a second building in Kingman just over three years ago and now serve lunch and snacks.
They had been looking to expand. They’ve been doing more deliveries in the Norwich and Murdock areas, and had considered opening a location in Goddard. Cheney was not on their radar, since it had a successful flower shop.
“We didn’t want to step on Marie’s toes,” Smith said about longtime Flower Fair owner Marie Davis. “When this became available, we knew we wanted it.”
She said the response in Cheney has been very supportive. They are planning a grand opening soon.
Smith and Henning have cleaned the floors and are decorating this week.
Funerals have been important in their first couple of weeks. Providing flowers for services is a key part of their Kingman location, too.
Valentine’s Day, the week of Mother’s Day and prom season all are important times of year.
Cleo’s has more gifts in the Kingman store, but Henning and Smith plan to expand the gift selection in Cheney. They plan to offer food-related gift baskets, but there are no plans now to add lunch options like they have in Kingman – the space simply is not available in their Cheney building.
For now, either Henning or Smith will be in the Cheney location. They will split their time between Cleo’s locations here and in Kingman
The deal to purchase Flower Fair was put together and finalized in only about eight weeks. That means there’s still a lot of work to do.
The hours are still being set. Right now, Cleo’s is open from around 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or so weekdays and on Saturday mornings. The plan to been open more hours in the very near future.
There’s not an internet presence yet for the Cheney location, but the Kingman location is on Facebook.
You can reach Cleo’s at the same number as Flower Fair – 316-542-0054.