Kay (Hammond) Stanton and her husband Al knew that Corunna was the perfect place for a flower shop. In 1976 they opened KAY’S Petals & Plants, and the rest is history. Kay and Al’s daughter, Tracy Kingston, was thirteen when the shop opened. “I worked after school, weekends and summers. This is the only job I’ve ever had.” Kingston and her mom worked well together, dividing floral design, bookkeeping and marketing. “I went to floral design school when I was 17. Afterwards, my mom gave me every opportunity to learn all aspects of the business.” Tracy was well prepared to take over the business when Kay retired in 2008. The shop currently employs four part-time associates and the number triples around Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. “I have a lot of devoted seasonal employees who help every holiday, plus my mom still loves to help and is my back-up.”
Fresh flowers are the main focus at KAY’S Petals & Plants. Silk flowers, plants and giftware round out their product lines. Half of their business comes from walk-in traffic and the balance through telephone and internet orders. They will create arrangements for any occasion, but they especially pride themselves on customized arrangements for funerals. “We use our creativity to share special memories and offer comfort.” Kingston and her team take the time to ask questions and understand the person’s background. “We recently created very personalized funeral arrangements for a farmer. We put flowers in old fashioned milk cans, used chicken wire and various farm-themed items. Family and friends loved it. Flowers are a way to help people express themselves in times of sorrow as well as celebration.”
Kingston truly loves what she does. “Flowers are very personal. What makes us unique is that you can call and get something handmade, customized and delivered the same day. Very few businesses can do this. Arrangements are made in-house and are one-of-a-kind. Our customers count on us and trust us to deliver their sentiments all over Corunna, Sarnia-Lambton and around the world.” Their commitment to their community earned them Customer Service and Small Business of the year accolades at the 2006 and 2013 Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce's Outstanding Business Achievement Awards.
In 2016, KAY’S Petals & Plants proudly marked its 40th anniversary with special events throughout the year, including planting 40 trees in St. Clair Township. KAY’S Petals & Plants supports many local charities and fundraisers. Currently they provide carnations to patients at Bluewater Health’s Cancer Clinic. “It’s such a simple thing but it really makes their day.”
In the next few years, Kingston plans to retire and hopes the business will transition to another passionate owner. Until then, she will continue to provide outstanding customer service and beautiful flowers. “People love flowers. It is so gratifying to know you are helping people express themselves and help celebrate their lives.”