There was an atmosphere of excitement Aug. 7 when Butler County Chamber of Commerce members joined Coren and Eric Pflum and their family to cut the ribbon on Small Town Blooms by CK at 420 E Street.
The opening was a culmination of effort by the Pflums, who recognized that David City had a big gap in its business lineup. Their store will fill that gap with the full line of floral and plant products for many occasions, including weddings, funerals, graduations.
The store will also delve into the home decoration area, with kitchen items and seasonal décor. Small Town Blooms also has a line of candles. The aroma of coffee fills the air in the morning, and the storefront tables provide a sunny place for refreshments and conversation.
For the Pflums, the timing and the opportunity lined up, and they decided it was time to pursue a dream.
“There wasn't any one thing that made our decision easier,” Pflum said. “We have a lot of family and friends in David City and felt we needed a floral shop and coffee shop in town. We had a lot of support.”
The store occupies the former Flowers by JF. Longtime owner Jolene Fichtl, who was recognized for her community spirit and leadership, lost her battle with cancer in August 2016.
“I reached out to previous florists Jeanette Birkel, Betty Kozisek, and Darcie Huismann who had worked for Jolene Fichtl,” Pflum said. “I knew nothing about floral design and I needed and wanted them on board with me to help make this venture a success. I also brought my friend Andrea Meysenburg on board whom I worked with prior. Once they said yes my husband and I decided let's do it and here we are.”
Corin said her sister Nicole was instrumental in determining what elements to add. Pflum said that putting her personal touch on the building’s interior was bittersweet..
“Jolene was an amazing women and can never be replaced I just hope she is smiling down and is happy with the changes we have made,” she said. “I wanted something bright, inviting and a little rustic and hope people feel that when they walk in the door.”
Pflum faced adversity early on.
“I grew up in Octavia, and when I was 8 years old I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which I feel has made me the person I am today,” she said. “My parents Carrol and Linda Jakub and sister Nicole Hilger helped me through it all and are a big part of why I am here.”
The Pflums have three daughters: Audra, Alex and Caroline. “We are very blessed, as I never knew if having children would be possible,” she said.
Coren, 38, has been a nurse for nearly 10 years, and she plans to keep her license intact. She credits her nursing career for providing insight that will help in the floral business. She started as a certified nursing assistant in geriatrics before she studied nursing.
“I know how to comfort people,” she said.
Her nursing career was inspired by her cancer experience, along with the encouragement of a friend, Vanessa Schifferns, whom Pflum met at a cancer survivor’s camp. Schiffrens, who died in 2006, was instrumental in Pflum’s decision to become a nurse. Her friend would probably have encouraged her to pursue the new dream of opening her store.
“She encouraged me,” she said. “I’m sure she’s looking down.”
Erick Pflum is employed by Control Management Inc. where he works as an electrical installer on large building projects. Eric's mother is Rose Pflum of David City. Corin’s parents are Carrol and Linda Jakub of Octavia. Her sister is Nicole Hilger of Lincoln.
In addition to thanking her family, she said she was very grateful for others who helped: her aunt Kathy Ehlers cousin Angie Siebken, sister in laws Chris Karn and Diane Stittle.
“They helped us with getting the shop up and ready to go without them we couldn't have made it what it is today. Also to our daughters for supporting and helping us along the way. We hope Small Town Blooms will be something they will proud of for a long time to come,” Pflum said.
The David City Public Schools Backpack Program received one of its largest, if not its largest, contribution on Aug. 9 during the back-to-school dinner held at the David City Elementary School.
Wendy Isham of the Butler County Skate Park Association presented a check for $10,000 to the program. She was joined by her son, Dylan Isham, one of the skateboarders more than a decade ago who worked to raise the funds. David City Elementary Principal Ernie Valentine accepted the donation on behalf of the Backpack Program board of directors. He said the funds would go far in helping to alleviate the food insecurity faced by some families in the school district.
"This is a huge gift and will provide financial support for about one year of the program," Valentine said. "We currently are supporting 36 backpacks every week of the school year. We do have the need to support more families but, we want to make sure we maintain a number that we can sustain financially over time. The Backpack program has been working to build a financial balance in our account to support the program three years out. We feel this is important to offset any loss of funds or reduction in donations in any given year."
Isham explained that more than a decade ago, a group of skateboarders took on the challenge to build a place off of the city streets where they could use their skateboards.
“After several years of fundraising, we had finally raised enough money to build a small skate park,” Wendy Isham said.
The association and the city explored several sites in the City Park, including one on the west end of Memorial Field. During the same time period, cities in Nebraska were grappling with issues of insurance and liability for injuries that occur on public property. The end result was that the skate park plan was derailed just as the association had the funds to begin construction.
After several years of inquiring if another group in the community would like to continue the cause for a skate park, Isham said, the group determined it was time to donate the funds to another youth program in Butler County.
The association’s parents and skateboarders considered their options and voted to donate 100 percent of the proceeds program to assist youth and their families in Butler County. The Backpack Program, working with the Food Bank of Lincoln, provides a backpack of food each weekend to qualifying families that may otherwise run short on food supplies. The backpacks contain meals that are easily prepared. The Food Bank’s assistance helps to keep the costs down to around $200 per backpack for the school year.
Wendy Isham said the association appreciated all the donors who helped with the skate park dream.
“We would like to thank the residents and the businesses of Butler County for their generous donations and patience over the years with the project. Although greatly disappointed that we were not able to build the skate park we had all dreamed of for so many years, we are confident that the Butler County Skate Park Association donation will be put to great use by the Back Pack Program,” Isham said.