Michelle's Flowers invites customers to a champagne celebration

Pontefract florists, Michelle’s Flowers, is inviting customers to a drop in champagne day next month to help celebrate a very much valued member of staff.

By Olivia Hale
Thursday, 29th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Karen Pullin has worked at the strore on Baghill Lane for 40 years
Karen Pullin has worked at the strore on Baghill Lane for 40 years

Karen Pullin, sister to store owner Michelle Grainger, is celebrating her 40th year working at the family-run shop on Baghill Lane.

The store has been in the family for 80 years, with Karen starting working there in 1980, when she was just 16 years old.

Karen said: “Our mum and dad managed the shop which was a fruit and vegetable retailer and wholesalers.

A photo of the storefront when it belonged to Michelle and Karen's great aunt

"I remember when I first started at the store, I’d worked on the markets and the fields before, so a new job wasn’t wasn’t a difficulty.

“But I can remember being so nervous, I didn't know people in Willow Park around the Baghill area as we lived on Box Lane, but over the years I’ve met some lovely people.

“Back then, we used to have a stool in the shop, so if anyone wanted a natter, they’d sit on the stool before buying their fruit and veg.

“I also remember it being a lovely old fashioned store, inside we had a credit book behind the till, where people could pay for their shopping at the end of the week - this was very handy for people during the miners strike.”

Sisters, Karen and Michelle

Before Karen eventually took over the shop, it belonged to her Great Auntie, who left it to her Grandad - a farmer in Pontefract.

Karen’s sister, Michelle, joined the family business in 1987 and with big plans, the sisters took over the shop - it was then that Karen’s Fruit and Veg was born.

With a passion for floristry, Michelle sold her floral bouquets at the store.

Karen said: “We had to adapt to the times, the fruit and veg side of it fell through when the big supermarkets like Aldi and Netto started popping up.

Michelle Grainger, current owner

“So around 15 years ago we completely gutted the shop and changed to Michelle’s Flowers.”

Michelle said: “I’m proud of Karen. Forty years is such a long time to be in the job and she’s never had a day off sick in all that time.

“We had to diversify with the times so we became Michelle’s Flowers - but now Karen does logistics and admin while I do the flowers.”

To celebrate Karen’s years of hard work and dedication to the family business, the shop will be holding a drop in on Saturday, November 21.

The day is also to thank customers for supporting the store through thick and thin - as Karen and Michelle have provided support to their community, as well as catering to funerals, weddings and birthdays.

In light of Covid-19, there will be a one-in-one-out system, where customers will be able to enjoy champagne, snacks and cakes with the store employees.

Karen said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, it’s my life - the same goes for Michelle, our passion and love for our work is mutual.

“It’s amazing that we’ve been able to adapt to the times, I’d love to see the community more tightly knit like it was back in the day, which they have a bit during the pandemic.

“I’m hoping that the drop in will help to bring back that sense of community, it really doesn't feel like 40 years.

“I’m excited to share the day with the community, but also our staff and the girls that work with us on Saturday, they’re all amazing.”