Huntington’s oldest flower shop takes root at its new location
HUNTINGTON — After Matt Chambers took over Archer’s Flowers & Gallery in 2015, his goal was to keep the nearly 100-year-old iconic business locally owned and operated.
“I love history, and my brother, David Chambers Jr., is a florist as well, so this was a good fit for us,” Chambers said.
Chambers bought Huntington’s oldest flower shop from Scott Archer, the third generation of the Archer family that began serving the Tri-State area in 1920.
“He was ready to retire,” Chambers said. “So when he approached us about the opportunity, we wanted to continue the legacy of the Archer family, which is to offer only the finest floral arrangements and gifts backed by old-fashioned, friendly service.”
Recently, Chambers moved the business from the 500 block of 10th Street to 523 11th St. into a historic building.
“The building we moved into was built as a carriage house in 1899,” Chambers said.
Chambers said it’s kind of ironic how the move played out.
“The business literally outlived the building we were in,” he said. “So we started looking for a building, and when we found this historic building we immediately knew it was perfect for us. It also has plenty of parking, unlike the other location.”
Chambers said they designed the inside of the new location to give customers an opportunity to take a step back in time.
“We knew it was going to be a colossal undertaking,” he said. “You’re talking about nearly 100 years of inventory and historical things, including containers from the ’20s, ‘30s and ’40s and up. Lots of people appreciate that stuff, and we wanted to bring as much of that to the new location as we could.”
Chambers said the Archer’s original cooler is at the new location, along with several other historical photos and floral-related antiques.
“Moving the cooler was an eight-month project because we had to preserve it, rebuild parts of it and keep that antique appeal, while bringing it into the modern era with all new interworking in it,” he said.
“Now it operates so efficiently you can’t even hear it versus before when it was so loud you couldn’t even hear if you were standing by it.”
Another interesting detail is the old electric sign that hung over the street.
“We know it dates back to the ’60s, but it’s in really good shape,” Chambers said. “We wanted to put it back up over here, but it was bigger than what is allotted today. We went before City Council to make a special appeal for the sign to be moved here, and nobody objected to it. We will be putting that up in the very near future.”
One thing that has always remained the same at the shop is the large inventory of fresh flowers, plants, European dish gardens, contemporary arrangements, traditional arrangements, silk arrangements, weddings, memorial and funeral designs, gourmet baskets, fruit baskets, chocolates, fine art, Yankee Candles, Old World Christmas ornaments, Thomas Kinkade Authorized Gallery and more.
“We try to carry a lot of unique items that are locally made,” Chambers said. “We have some locally made ceramic churches that are handmade in Kentucky.”
Chambers said the business employs around six people, including three designers, a bookkeeper and two drivers.
“We deliver locally to Huntington, Barboursville, Ceredo, Kenova, Proctorville, Chesapeake and South Point,” he said. “We love our customers and urge them to stop by and visit with us anytime. The coffee is always hot and free.”
Chambers said those interested in the history of Archer’s can view its historical photo collection on the web page at www.archersflowers.com under the photo gallery tab.
“There really aren’t that many businesses in Huntington as old as this one, so we feel we have a large responsibility and big shoes to fill here,” he said. “It may not be in the Archer’s family, but we want to carry on their tradition and legacy. It’s very important to us. It’s like a big family here. That’s the way it was, and that’s the way it still is today.”
Archer’s Flowers & Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; and closed Sunday.
For more information, call the shop at 304-522-8272 or visit their website or Facebook page.
Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.