Flower shop survives by its ‘personal touch'

May 06, 2002|By TIM YANNI, Special to this newspaper

If you're looking for Imperial Valley history, taking a walk down El Centro's Main Street is probably a good first stop.

While you're there, a business at the address of 618 would quite possibly be one of the first to catch your eye.

Dessert's Flowers, which occupies that address, has served the Imperial Valley since 1937 and owner Eddie Vega said he has no plans of discontinuing its tenure anytime soon.

"I feel the same way I felt when I first started here," Vega said, adding he could not see himself in any other occupation.


Vega, who has owned Dessert's for 19 years, began working for then-owner Libby Dessert in 1955 as a delivery driver.

"She turned it over to me and I gave it a try," Vega said, explaining how he began his ownership of the shop.

Vega said he likes owning a business because it gives him the freedom to do things his way.

"You can make your own decisions," Vega said. "You can be creative and do your own thing."

Carolyn Chell has worked for Vega for three years as a sales clerk and floral designer.

"It's not difficult at all," Chell said of her work. "It's a nice atmosphere."

Chell, who resides in Holtville, said she enjoys her work primarily because she loves flowers.

"I have always had a passion for flowers," Chell said. "I appreciate all the beautiful things that God has created for us to enjoy."

Chell said Christmas is her favorite time of year in the flower shop and she enjoys the way the shop is decorated differently depending on the season.

"Christmas is really beautiful here," Chell said. "We make the shop look real festive."

Of Vega, Chell had only compliments.

"He's a very nice man to work for," Chell said.

"He definitely has a talent and a gift for it," she added. "That's proven by the fact that he has so many customers who appreciate his abilities."

Loretta Abatti, a Holtville resident, has been a loyal customer at Dessert's for more than 40 years.

"I was here when the Desserts had it," she said.

Abatti, who claims that flowers are her weakness, said she likes that Vega can come up with the perfect arrangement no matter what is needed.

"You can tell him what you want and he'll get it all fixed up for you," Abatti said. "It just makes me feel good."

Vega said he is appreciative of his loyal customers who continue to shop at Dessert's despite the new abundance of locations to purchase flowers, including grocery stores.

"They keep coming back," Vega said.

He said that the down side to owning the flower shop is making funeral arrangements, particularly for people he has known and even served as customers throughout the years.

"Every year I see a few more pass away," Vega said. "Every time you open the paper, you see one of your customers go."

Vega said the flower business is not as strong as when he began working at Dessert's, because of new shops opening and flowers becoming available in new locations, but he boasts that his arrangements are made with a "personal touch."

Vega said he wants to continue working because he enjoys keeping busy.

"What the heck am I going to do if I retire?" Vega asked rhetorically.

Vega, originally from Nogales, Ariz., said he is quite content living and working in the Imperial Valley.

"I love everything about the Valley," he said. "I wouldn't trade it for anything."

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