On Thursday, Gary Tunget will close the doors of Gary’s Fleur-de-Lis, 2219 Frederica St., and end a 45-year career as a florist.
But he is 66 and not ready to fully retire.
“I’ll find something else to do,” Tunget said Thursday. “But it won’t be that.”
He said he and his wife, Mary Lisa, had worked alone in the business for two years.
“It’s been seven days a week,” Tunget said. “And I’m ready for something else.”
Working with floral arrangements is a much more physical job than people realize, he said.
Tunget said when he started his business there were eight florists in town.
When he leaves, he says there will be three.
“COVID has changed everything,” he said.
People are buying fewer funeral flowers these days than in the past, Tunget said.
“This generation doesn’t have the same needs as other generations,” he says.
Tunget said he started in the floral business when he was a student at Western Kentucky University, delivering flowers for a store in Bowling Green.
After college he worked for two other florists here.
But the seed of his career was planted in Calhoun when he was a kid.
“My grandmother lived two doors down from a flower shop,” Tunget said. “I was hanging out there and watching them make arrangements.”
He was an art student in college.
And it’s come in handy with flower arrangements, he said.
The business is located in a century-old house that has served as a tobacco shop, dance studio and apartment building over the years.
Tunget said Kurtz Auction & Realty will auction it at the end of October.
He was active in Lt. Robert Moseley’s chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution for years.
And Tunget said he will travel to Maryland later this year to see two of his ancestors honored by a chapter there.
Keith Lawrence, [email protected]