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Paul and Greg, who are florists, have worked pretty much every day at the shop since it opened in 1976. Paul’s only vacation was a three day trip to Florida in 1993.

Marilyn took five days off after the birth of each of her two sons, in 1975 and 1979, respectively, but otherwise has been a daily mainstay in the store.

“Mom worked every day after opening the beauty salon [in 1961],” said Marilyn of her mother, Megan. “In 2001, she caught a cough and she was cremated 21 days later.” She was 78.

“I want to live a little before I die,” Greg said.

Their brother Peter, 66, is a venture capitalist and president of the family business. He said rising electricity costs and big box stores also played a role in the decision to close the business. When the shop opened in 1976, he said, the highest monthly electricity bill was $28; last winter it was $3,000.

“The industry has changed,” said Peter, who said the family’s plan is to revert the property to residential. “Box stores have had a huge impact. They’ve taken a lot of the gravy out of it.”

The family announced on its company Facebook page Wednesday that the business would be closing Oct. 31. Since then they have received, via the Facebook site, hundreds of well wishes, congratulations and shared memories from customers, past and present, some of whom first did business with the family back in 1976. Other folks have dropped into the store to express their feelings.

“We’re sorry to see you leave” has been a common sentiment, Marilyn said.

Former Kingston mayor Gary Bennett wrote on the company’s Facebook page that the shop was “a landmark institution in Kingston’s North End.”

“People get attached to a local business,” said Peter, noting that Blaney’s Florists has provided flowers “for milestones in people’s lives,
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” such as weddings, funerals and anniversaries.

“It’s good to know people have that kind of confidence in you,” said Marilyn, who manages the shop and handles the bookwork. “Relationships develop and people keep coming back. We’ve always tried to take good care of our customers.

“We’ve had some wonderful customers.”

The building where the flower shop is located has been in the Blaney family since 1947, when the siblings’ father, Earl, opened a barbershop. Hanging on a pillar in the flower shop is the sign that hung outside the barbershop during its 47 years in business. Blaney” are above and below, respectively, a painting of a young boy’s head and shoulders. The barbershop closed in 1994 after the death of Earl, who served a couple of terms as an alderman for Cataraqui Ward and was a member of the Public Utilities Commission and the Catholic school board.

On the northwest side of the barbershop, the family opened a beauty salon in 1961 and mother Megan and daughter Ann Marie operated it for 40 years.

In the early 1960s, the family moved into the residence above where the flower shop now sits. There were 10 Blaneys Earl, Megan and eight children living in a three bedroom apartment.

“Every morning at 8 o’clock, Dad would go over to mass at St. John’s just to get away from us while we were in the bathroom,” said Marilyn, laughing at the memory.

A few months later, Earl purchased the downstairs portion from his brother Art, giving the family some much needed space.

In 1976, Paul graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in horticulture.

“He tried to get a job with a flower shop in Kingston but he couldn’t find one, so we opened our own shop,” Peter said.

The flower shop opened on Raglan Road, next to the salon. Business became so successful it moved over to the larger, south side of the building. A greenhouse was added in the early 1980s.

Siblings Beverly and Kevin also worked in the flower shop at one time, but it has been Marilyn, Paul and Greg who have been the anchors.

“Combined we’ve made it work,” Marilyn said. “We needed each other to make it special.”

Paul is a horticulturist and master florist. Marilyn lauded his work ethic,
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and Peter said “we call him the Energizer Bunny. He moves at one speed but he never stops.”