Rose Marie Serrone opened her flower and gift shop in a single story, Art Deco-style building in 1946 located at 2659 Independence Blvd. Rose Marie’s Floral & Gift Shop became a staple of the Northeast community and soon grew to include two large greenhouses behind the building used for growing annuals and perennials. While the store was run by Mrs. Serrone, it was a family operation that involved her husband Pat and Pat’s brother, Pete Serrone.
In addition to flowers, the store also carried a wide variety of clay pots, imported Italian gifts, lamps, figurines and greeting cards. The centerpiece of the store was a large, Art Deco style fountain located in the center of the floral showroom surrounded by all sorts of Art Deco and Art Nouveau furnishings, perfect for taking themed pictures.
The fountain became a destination for the Northeast community for making wishes. Much like the fountains of Rome, one would make a wish, then toss a coin into the fountain. Coins gathered from the fountain would be donated to charitable organizations, a fact that the well-wishers knew. Sometimes however, according to some on the Kansas City Italians Facebook page, the money was pilfered when the teenagers were “hard up for gas money.”
Filled with nostalgia, many shared their memories of the shop. Teresa Rizzo-Margarita got her wedding flowers there. Sally Nixon-Simmons, Rose Serrone’s niece, shared that Rose would always ask the color of the dress girls were wearing in order to match the Easter corsages to the dress.
“When we were little, we got carnations and when we got older we got orchids,” she remembered.
Rose Marie’s Floral & Gift Shop closed in 1996 after a 50 year run on the Avenue. It is now owned by the Northeast Chamber of Commerce and acts as its Economic Growth Generator (EGG) facility and event space. This postcard features a painting of a lovely bouquet of flowers and is one in a series of a dozen postcards available from the flower shop. On the back are instructions for the care of fresh cut flowers and plants, along with an invitation to collect all 12 of the different floral cards, then bring them to the shop to have them framed for free.