A tornado wiped out our family business in Mayfield

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When we decided to put down roots and open a floral design studio in Mayfield, we looked at a plethora of commercial properties.

Just when we thought we’d seen them all, a FOR RENT sign caught my eye in the window of 206 West Broadway.

Within the first 30 seconds of touring the old Mayfield Messenger building, we fell in love with the exposed brick interior walls and the potential the space had to offer.

Tons of blood, sweat and tears were shed in 206. Friends donated old furniture which we refurbished, work tables were built, murals were created by the artist local Ron Moyers and our family started The Bloom Company.

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Bloom actually came to fruition when my 22 year old son Kyler started trying his hand at silk flowers. What started as a hobby, creating wreaths (he sold 25 in his first month) turned into a brick-and-mortar business venture on January 3, 2020.

We had considered buying an existing flower shop, but it never materialized after months of negotiations. Disappointed with the outcome, we decided to find our own space and create our own image – even though Kyler, nor Cindy (my wife who had retired less than a year before after 22 years as a dental hygienist) n had no experience in the flower business. . Self-taught, Kyler designed his first fresh flower arrangement just days before our doors opened.

Kyler and Cindy built Bloom from the ground up into a well-respected flower and gift shop. Business was booming. Kyler’s “Flower Club” (a monthly fresh flower subscription) was growing and we were capturing a good share of the wedding and event market. The boutique had just received a sale award from our supplier for our efforts in the tuxedo rental business (we had just built five dressing rooms to accommodate proms and weddings).

We were less than a month away from Bloom’s second birthday when the largest tornado on record in the Bluegrass State hit our beloved hometown.

Following:Will the businesses destroyed by the Mayfield tornado come back? What the owners told us

Broadway was decimated by the tornado – which was reportedly a mile wide while reaching 30,000 feet in height.

Mayfield’s historic town center was all but gone. Our majestic churches, architectural masterpieces adorned with stained glass, have been beaten – First Presbyterian Church, Mayfield First United Methodist Church, First Christian Church, Saint James African Methodist Episcopal Church, New Vision Ministry, Yahweh Baptist Church, Fairview Baptist Church and the Catalyst Community Center were all badly damaged or flattened.

A family friend texted Kyler hours after the tornado hit with photos of Bloom. The charm that graced the second floor of 206 was now above our showroom, design space and dressing rooms. A photo revealed the remains of our new cold room.

Within seconds, the previous 23 months were wiped out. Countless long nights, seven-day work weeks and holidays were logged to make Bloom a profitable business when the goal was simply to pay the lease for the first 12 months of operation when we initially opened.

December 10, 2021 will forever be the longest night of my life. My 70-year-old mother, Nancy, is lucky to be alive after losing her apartment to the tornado (she lived about five blocks from Bloom). Cindy, Kyler, our daughter, Katelin, and our son-in-law, Brandon, were all shaken but safe.

Someone said it best a few days after the storm changed our lives forever with a Facebook post that read, “The love of Jesus is alive and well in Mayfield.

Of course, we’re still struggling – we struggle with insurance and navigate starting from scratch. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as low as I’ve been over the past few weeks when I think of the tragic loss of life, the homes and businesses wiped out and the scene we see daily as we let’s travel through the city.

Insert the love of Jesus.

Many reached out to lend a hand. Another family friend set up a GoFund Me page for Kyler and Bloom – people have been extremely generous, which helps offset some insurance issues.

Three days after the tornado, a flower shop owner five hours away in Missouri reached out and showed up in Mayfield to help. Kyler still drives a Busch’s Fresh Flowers and Fine Gifts delivery van (his new Toyota Highlander was also destroyed in the storm).

Struggling to find a new place to ‘thrive’, two local businesses reached out and offered us a space to get started.

Barry Danowski

Today we count our many blessings – which include the abundant love of complete strangers – as we prepare to “bloom again” in the coming days.

Barry Danowski has worked as a freelance sportswriter for the past 29 years, covering Western Kentucky prep sports. He is the former sports editor of the Mayfield Messenger and the Fulton Leader. He spent many years as a beat writer for the national power Mayfield Cardinals high school football team. He is currently the Manager and Training Specialist at the Paducah Gas Diffusion Plant.

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