Neal & Jean’s sells to Vintage Rose

Jeff Whitley, owner of Neal and Jean’s Flowers, recently sold the business to Lisa Greene, the proprietor of Vintage Rose Boutique and Flower Shop on South Main Street.

Neal & Jean’s Flower shop on the corner of Birch and Hobson has sold the business to Vintage Rose. (Charles Betzler)

Whitley said he took early retirement from AT&T and started helping his father and mother, Neal and Jean Whitley, run the flower shop in 2008. Neal Whitley passed away in 2010 and his wife, Jean, subsequently died in 2012. “I just kept it open to keep these people employed and something to do, ya know,” said Whitley. “Mom and Dad, they were still here in their eighties, and I said, ‘Naw, I don’t want to do that,’ so I am 68 and it just worked out that I had an opportunity to sell it to Lisa, and thought, it is time to go and do something different.”

Jeff said the timing was a key part of the decision. “If I was ten years younger, we probably wouldn’t have had this conversation,” Whitley opined. “It was time for someone to take it who is a lot younger.”

He added, “I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with it, and take it on down the road.”

Whitley comes from a long line of florists beginning with his grandfather, Harold Whitley who started working as a florist in 1922 for Harry Mitchell who owned the Sapulpa Floral company at 1000 South Main. His grandfather bought the business in 1942 and closed the doors in 1970. The Sapulpa Floral Company had multiple greenhouses and Harold, at one time. grew as many as 20,000 orchids, many of which won prizes.

The Whitley family.

Neal Whitley bought the property at 21 North Birch St. in 1964, tore down the existing house, and built the current building that houses Neal and Jean’s Flowers.

After nearly six decades, Neal and Jean’s Flowers will now be under new ownership.

When asked what prompted Ms. Greene to purchase the business from Jeff Whitley, she said that she needed room to expand her current business which includes gifts, wedding packages, rentals of Tuxedos and suits for occasions such as proms and weddings, and of course, the flowers.

She told the Sapulpa Herald that she was going to keep her building on South Main St. and operate two shops. She also stated she was going to keep the Neal and Jean’s name for one year.

Lisa Greene, third from right, and her team stand in front of the Neal and Jean’s Flower shop, which sold to Vintage Rose earlier this month.

Speaking about her plans for the combined business, she enthusiastically said, “We plan on taking everything we learn over the next year and turning this into an empire to service Sapulpa. We will do tuxes, we have tons of wedding rentals and wedding rental supplies. So now, I can get all of my stuff out of all of my trailers and my shed.”

She went on to promote some of her products and services, “We have a program that if you do all of your wedding flowers through us and your tuxes, we will actually pay for the groom’s tux. If you have seven men or more, and you do your tux and your wedding flowers, we pay for the groom’s tux.”

Ms. Greene emphasized that she was keeping the current Neal and Jean’s employees, and said she also wanted to start making signs and other products with her wood-burning machine and start having more hand-made products sold in her business. “ I would like to find two or three women to do some stuff here on consignment, I want to avoid “Made-in-China” as much as possible.”