Familiar faces new to longstanding flower shop

ERIC WALKER/The Mayfield Messenger

Jennifer Rukavina Bidwell and Jeff Bidwell are the new owners of what will become Jeannette's Mayfield Flower Company, which has more than 80 years of local history. The flower shop is set to open Monday.

A couple of familiar faces are now new faces to a familiar Mayfield florist business.

Jeff and Jennifer Rukavina Bidwell are the new owners of the 87-year-old Jeannette’s Flower Shoppe, which will take on the new moniker of Jeannette’s Mayfield Flower Company. The business, located at 315 S. Ninth St., is set to open Monday, Dec. 9.

The two have been fixtures on local television for years. Jeff is sports director for WPSD Local 6 and Jennifer was a meteorologist for the station. So introductions to local customers shouldn’t take too long.

“People know us, but we’re trying to learn the Mayfield community as fast as we can,” Jeff said. “I’m just not in a gym or on a football field. I’m standing behind a counter.”

The two took over Jeannette’s following the retirement last month of previous owners Laddie and Emma McAllister. The Bidwells said the shop had been on their radar for six months, during which they had also been preparing to open the Paducah Flower Company in Lone Oak at the first of January 2020.

“To buy a second store before the first store was opened was not in the original plan,” Jeff, who will handle more logistic aspects to the businesses, said. “But it fell out of the sky and fell into place.”

According to Jennifer, the transition from a life that had been forecasting weather patterns to designing floral creations isn’t that far of a stretch. One of her first jobs growing up was at a nursery and she even contemplated going into landscaping design before following the meteorology route.

“As a kid, weather was a big passion of mine. Flowers was number two,” Jennifer said. “Once I started getting into more of the professional designing of flowers, I quickly realized I was kind of a natural. It felt good to put together things for people that made them feel better in times of sadness.

“Being able to do that felt similar in some ways to my old job (of) helping people,” she added.

That is one part of the heart of Jeannette’s Mayfield Flower Company. Jennifer said along with the fresh flower and seasonal components are the personal touches of specifically crafted arrangements for celebratory occasions and times of loss.

“We want this to be a place people can come when family members pass and we’re helping them figure out how to celebrate someone’s life,” Jennifer said. So the Bidwells’ interior store design will have a client area to discuss and develop specialized arrangements.

“I feel that’s one of the most important parts of this business; helping them figure out what they need in those times because it can be really chaotic and hard,” she explained. “We want each piece to be reflective of the person ordering it or whom it’s ordered for.”

They have also initiated a social media and online push to showcase their designs and the shop’s evolution through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Once the Paducah Flower Company opens next month, the couple will split time between stores. Meanwhile, 15-year Jeannette’s designer Tammy Fields will continue, providing her creativity and helping to continue the shop’s tradition.

“We’re thrilled she agreed to stay on and help us carry through into the years to come,” Jeff said. “She’s very valuable here and there’s a lot to learn from her.”

“Tammy has visions for this place too,” Jennifer added. “She’s worked here so long, she has a vested interest.”

Both Bidwells credited the support from the McAllisters throughout the transition, especially being able to create their own vision of the future of Jeannette’s.

“A lot of changes will be slow at first, but once we emerge in the new year we’ll do a lot more,” Jennifer said. “We’re in no rush to change big things. It’ll be a gradual transition to what we feel is our stamp on it.”

“Obviously things are going to be different and at the same time, we understand and appreciate and want to preserve the legacy and tradition of the place,” Jeff added. “We’re 87 and counting and we’d sure love to keep marching to 100.”

Eric Walker is the news editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He has also worked as a staff writer for the Messenger, editor for the Murray Ledger & Times, and in public relations. He is married with two sons.