February 13, 2008 ALMONT — It was an early February day in 1985, that Sharon Knust opened Cinnamon Stick Flower & Gift Shoppe in downtown Almont.
Twenty-three years later, nearly to the day, Knust left the successful business behind to spend more time traveling, working around the house, and spending time with her eight grandchildren.
On Feb. 6, the longtime business owner turned the keys of the Main Street flower shop over to Tom and Tina Vargo of Capac. It's a transition she expects will work out well for all parties.
"I'd been wanting to sell for some time," said Knust. "It's kind of a sad thing because I've made so many friends over the years. I'm going to miss them. But I will not miss the alarm clock going off every morning."
Knust said she will continue to own the building at 130 S. Main St., but is selling the business to the Vargos. She added that the new owners intend to keep her two former employees.
Now that she is free from the day-to-day operations of the flower shop, Knust and husband, Don, plan to enjoy themselves. That includes more time for reading, lounging and gardening in the spring and summer months.
"I have a lot of hobbies, I'll be keeping busy," she said. "I may end up doing some volunteering so I can still be around people."
Knust said the nature of the floral business has its inherent challenges, adding that she's seen a lot of changes over the years.
"It's a lot of hard work," she said. "The store takes a great deal of time. Flowers are perishable and require a lot of attention. A lot more goes into the purchase and preparation of a single rose than people realize.
"Nowadays people want higher style and more exotic varieties," said Knust. "You have to keep learning. Being creative and satisfying my customers is what has been most rewarding.
"We often got calls from customers after a funeral or wedding, telling us that we did a good job," Knust said. "That has been the most satisfying part of the business— making people happy."
Tom Vargo anticipates few changes now that the flower shop has changed hands.
"We'd like to make a few updates," said Vargo. "But other than that, we'll continue to operate things as they have been."
Cinnamon Stick Flower & Gift Shoppe can be reached at 810-798-3669.