WEIRTON - Mary (Carpini) Lyons walked away from a career in nursing to try her hand as a small business owner.
Lyons and her husband, Gary, a database analyst at a Pittsburgh bank, recently acquired McCauslen Any Occasion in Weirton.
"I've always loved flowers, and I loved getting an established business," she said. "This business has been here 75 or 80 years. I just wanted to do something where I could serve my community, where I could help people through the good times and bad times and make a difference."
SPREADING CHEER — Weirton native Mary (Carpini) Lyons sees the florist business as a chance to make people feel better, much as she did in her former profession, nursing. Lyons and her husband, Gary, are the new owners of McCauslen Any Occasion in Weirton.
-- Linda Harris
A Weirton native, Mrs. Lyons had worked at a home health agency for six years prior to taking over McCauslen's.
"Nursing changed a lot, even in the six years I worked," she said. "It became paperwork driven. It wasn't about the patients anymore, and the patients are what I enjoyed about nursing."
So when she saw an opportunity to leave the nursing profession and go into business for herself, she didn't hesitate, even though until now, her only experience in the florist business has been as a paying customer.
"It was the fact that it was an established business with a really good reputation," she said. "And flowers bring happiness to people" no matter the occasion.
"Flowers make you happy, they make you smile," she added. "Even for a funeral, we try to celebrate the life of that person. If we can bring joy to anyone's life, that's what we want to do."
She said the shop has three floral designers, all with years of experience under their belt.
"Everybody that worked with Jan (former owner Jan Hicks) stayed on," she said. "They all said they wanted to stay, that they'd help us and teach us. And I want to learn as much as I can because it is my business."
Though they've only had the shop a short time, she said the buzz has been good. "We've had good, positive feedback, everybody's excited for us," she said.
"And I still get to help people, still get to make them feel better," she adds. "The biggest part, for me, is that I want to be part of the community where I grew up and give back to it."
In addition to floral arrangements for occasions ranging from weddings and funerals to parties and birthdays, the shop also sells live plants, wreaths, garden stones, blankets, frames, wind chimes, angel sets and battery-powered tribute candles.
Mrs. Lyons said they also do gift baskets filled with fruits, snacks, wine and cheese or themed items, such as a WVU basket they donated to a United Way fundraising auction.
"It's just exciting," she said. "And we're having a really good time."
(Harris can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)