It is February 1950. Turn back the pages of history and take a stroll down the alley off Traffic Way turn right and enter the Carlton Hotel. Here’s the place to buy a Valentine bouquet for your sweetheart. Chances are Charlene Bliss and her daughter Arlyne Highfill Casper will be there to assist you. This unique mother and daughter team had a fine garden at their Curbaril Avenue home and shared a love of flowers. This provided the impetus to open a floral shop in downtown Atascadero.
In the mid-fifties, the duplexes on Palma Avenue were built by Charlene’s husband, John Bliss and the business was moved to 6485 Palma Avenue. The shop occupied one side of the duplex and the Blisses lived in the other. The present owner of the shop, Jaynee Casper Orcutt recalls, “I remember the Western Union machines in the shop, the ticker tapes and the process and smell of the machines.” She confessed that as a child she used to play with all that ticker tape, although some moments were more usefully spent potting small plants and watering the flowers. At that time there was only one supplier for the shop and the flowers were brought from northern California in a big refrigerated truck drive by Chin, an Asian man. He would continue south from Atascadero, making more deliveries until he ran out of flowers. In those days fashion shows were held in the Carlton Hotel and in the Rotunda of the Administration Building. Fritzi Ann’s Dress Shop on Traffic Way provided the apparel and Arlyne’s Floral Shop made sure that all attendees had corsages to wear.
After her husband died, Charlene spent some time in Europe before returning to Paso Robles where she opened a second business.
In 1957 Al and Arlyne Casper and their children Jaynee and Edward moved into the duplex on Palma. In 1960 the family moved to Paso Robles, but continues managing the business with Charlene. Since that time structural changes have been made to the building. Both sides of the duplex and a porch were incorporated to provide more room for this rapidly growing business. A huge walk-in refrigerator was acquired, but the old original cedar box is still functioning and can be seen in the main part of the shop. A line of ceramics was added.
In 1973, Jaynee Casper Orcutt and her husband Jack took over the business.