Published: 14:43, 20 September 2021
| Updated: 13:49, 21 September 2021
One of Ashford's shopping legends is celebrating an incredible achievement as it reaches 40 years in business.
Linda's Florists is celebrating its special anniversary after four decades of supplying the town with the best bunches.
Linda Alexander started the shop on September 3, 1981, when she opened a kiosk on her own in what is now County Square – known then as the Tufton Centre.
Since then, the business evolved to take on 14 full and part-time staff, with two vans delivering flowers each day.
"I had a little kiosk that was the middle of three, right in front of the busy Tesco store in the centre, which is now Poundland.
"Business was really good there, people would come out of Tesco and get their flowers from me and that was really how everything started."
Thbusinessss soon outgrew the kiosk and Mrs Alexander opened a shop at 33 Bank Street, running both sites for a time before shutting the kiosk to focus on the larger store.
In 1997, the business then opened at 50 High Street, again running out of both stores while opening a studio on the Godinton Way industrial estate.
The Bank Street store closed following the extension of County square, with the now greatly-increased team focussing on the High Street.
"The extension of the shopping centre disrupted trade a fair bit, the bus stops were relocated for a while and it was very chaotic," Mrs Alexander explained.
"So that was a fair bit of change, and then later on we moved our studio to where it is now in Heron Business Centre in Henwood.
"Having the studio means the team can take deliveries directly from wholesalers, allowing them to focus on making the designs and stopping the shop teams from being overwhelmed by customers and deliveries at the same time".
Unfortunately, with the coronavirus pandemic and slowing footfall in the High Street, the Ashford legend decided to permanently close her High Street shop in September 2020, instead focusing on running phone and online orders from the Henwood studio.
"In some ways it was the natural progression of things even without the pandemic," she explained.
"Thankfully, we are still going strong and I have a fantastic team, many of whom have worked for me for more than 20 years!
"I think the name Linda's is something that people recognise, at least I hope it is, and hopefully we will continue to serve the area for many years to come!"