Shop helps customers find perfect bouquet

Chris Chandler refelcts on nearly a century of helping customers find just the right flowers for every occasion



Senior product manager Chris Chandler believes every person has a story worth telling and helps people find the story they want to tell with their flowers or other gifts on Monday morning at Neill’s Flowers and Gifts.

EURUS THACH, Evergreen columnist

On East Main Street, Neill’s Flowers and Gifts has kept hundreds of warmhearted stories for nearly 100 years as the only flower shop in Pullman.

Besides the various changes in the floral trends, connecting people is the most interesting part of this business, senior product manager Chris Chandler said.

“Because when people buy a flower, they aren’t just buying a gift,” Chandler said. “[This gift] shows thoughts, caring, and the fact that you’ve invested in it. Because generally, you don’t give someone flowers that you don’t care about.”

Chandler said he believes every person has a story worth telling and tries to help people tell these stories through flowers. A customer’s purpose can be a romantic proposal, a cheerful motivation, or a grateful or empathetic gift.

“When [customers] call in for different advice in life, we ask questions about what recipients are like,” Chandler said.

Flower arrangements can either be suggested by the shop or custom-built, based on customer preferences, Chandler said. Over 90 percent of its business is custom designs.

He said he has many irreplaceable childhood memories at the shop.

“I grew up in [Neill’s Flowers]. My dad, Mitch Chandler, bought [Neil’s Flower shop] when I was 3,” Chandler said.

The shop has been a part of the Pullman community since it moved locations in 1920, Chandler said. The Chandlers have owned the business since 1978.

Neill’s Flowers and Gifts also support WSU programs and help expose students to local shop owners in the process.

“We used to help when WSU had its own floral cultural program when they actually taught people how floral design. Our staff helped judge context and design show for their programs up there as well,” Chandler said.

CJ Elleby, sophomore sociology major, and Hannah Pukis, sophomore communication major, visit Neill’s Flowers every few weeks. Elby and Pukis agree the business has good customer service and quality flowers.

“Since I was little, I’ve seen my mother receive flowers from my father. Just some stuff like that makes flowers significant,” Elleby said.