Although COVID-19 has affected countless U.S. businesses this year, Culpeper business owner Steve Cone said it hasn’t been terrible for his family.
Their shop, Endless Creations Flowers and Gifts, has managed to get through surprisingly well, Cone said in an interview.
“March was really bad,” the florist admitted.
“But once people started getting their bearings, they began to send flowers and gifts because they couldn’t see those they care about,” Cone said. “So, Easter was up, Mother’s Day was up. We’ll end up doing OK for the year.”
He owns the full-service shop with his wife, Chris. In addition to creating flower arrangements for clients, they also sell gift items and rent tuxedos for weddings.
This fall, the couple moved their shop from Evans Street to a storefront next to the Culpeper County Library in Southgate Shopping Center.
A ribbon-cutting was held Nov. 12 with Culpeper Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Jeff Say, Town Councilman Frank Reaves and others.
“It went surprisingly well,” Chris Cone said of the event. “We were concerned with being overwhelmed, but we ended up with a nice steady crowd, and everyone wearing masks.”
Two days later, personalities with radio station WJMA popped a tent outside the store and broadcast their show from there.
“They were there 11 to 1, and then James Tamelcoff came and sang Cash ‘Unchained’ from 1 to 3,” Cone said. “It was great.”
Tamelcoff, from Madison County, is known for singing the music of Johnny Cash. Several years ago, he performed to a sold-out audience in Culpeper’s former State Theatre, after which he toured his show across the nation.
Cone and his wife, Chris, who live in Madison County, first opened Endless Creations in 2014 on Sunset Lane in Culpeper. They moved to Evans Street the following year.
“We’re both interested in growing things,” Cone said. Steve and Chris met while studying horticulture at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton. Later, they moved to his native Madison; she joined him from Winchester.
Both held a variety of jobs in greenhouses and landscape companies before breaking out on their own.
“Both our kids grew up doing crafts and digging in the dirt,” Cone said, laughing.
For 24 years, the family has organized craft shows in the fall, always as a whole-family effort. With the coronavirus, all such shows were cancelled this year.
“We usually do 40 or 50 shows between August and December,” Cone said. “It’s very strange this year not doing a single one.”
Their son, Scotty, a heating and air conditioner mechanic, and daughter Dana Kalagian, who teaches Spanish at Eastern View High School, helped fix up the Southgate store, renovating the space while still caring for their own families.
“They’ve been a great help, always supportive of us,” Cone said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Already a grandfather of two, Cone said his daughter is expecting her second child at the end of January.
“My own kids started out in baby carriers under the table while we did crafts,” Cone said. “It’s amazing that it’s come full circle.”
Cone said he hopes the new location will last a long time.
“All we can hope for is slow, steady growth. We’re just trying to deliver the best and freshest-quality products we can, and give our customers the best service possible,” Cone said.
Of COVID-19, he added, “Who knows what the next few months will bring? All we can do is the best we can.”
To learn more about Endless Creations, visit them at 261 Southgate Shopping Center, call 540/825-8090, or see ecflowersandgifts.com.