The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Shelby Taylor

Histories and mysteries of Goldendale businesses: City's historic florist shop celebrates long history


Shelby Taylor

YEARS OF FLOWERS: Clark's Floral has a unique stone marker in front of its store. The business has been around since the 1950's.

Debbie and Ken Clark are the owners of Goldendale's Clark's Floral, which features tuxedos, giftware, chocolates, flowers, and accessories. The shop has been owned and operated by the duo since 1993 after taking over the business from Dale Wirick, when the company was previously named Golden Court Florist. At the time, the shop was located at 131 W Court St., until the new building located on Broadway was built in 2002.  

Debbie's family was able to track the history of the business back to the '50s, stating, "This shop is one of the oldest businesses still running in Goldendale." And it's still surviving.

"To me that's encouraging. I see all these people going out of business and think, 'Ohh, noo.'"

Fortunately, Clarks Floral has managed to get through and overcome tough economic periods with the addition of accessories, gifts, and chocolates.

Debbie was first inspired to become a florist by her mother. "When I was a little girl my mother worked in this business," she recalls.

Later, her mother became interested in buying another flower shop on Broadway. "When she decided to quit the business, I decided to quit my job, which at the time was working for Dr. Tupper. I had a pretty good job. But this is what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go into the floral business." Debbie's mom encouraged her to gain the basics of the business and attend floral school at The Western School of Floral Design in Portland.

While attending school, the deal with the shop fell through, leaving Debbie without a plan. And upon returning to Goldendale, her family home burned down.

"I had to rebuild and put my life back together with two children." Without a job, Debbie stated that the only thing she could ask herself is, "What do I do?"

The owner of the other flower shop continuously called her, inviting her to come work for them. "I told her no a bunch of times. But she kept calling me. Finally, I had to tell her, 'I want to go to into business for myself one day. If I come to work for you, you need to know that my intent, my goal, is to have my own business.' She said, 'I don't care.'" Debbie ended up working for her for two years before finally purchasing the floral shop on Court Street.

Shelby Taylor

Side of Clark's floral building advertising flowers, chocolates and tuxedos.

Ken's mother has a long standing family history here in Goldendale. After a temporary relocation and meeting her husband, his parents moved back to Goldendale 1966, the same year Debbie's family arrived in the town.  

They now live in his mother's family home, which has been established for over 70 years. It was at this location that his grandfather owned his own box shook hauling company, wood pieces from the mill that were hauled to local orchards for packing, in the 1940's.

You can reach Clark's Floral at (509) 773-4353, the classic Goldendale florists number.

"Our phone number that we have right now is the same phone number that they had back then."


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