Within the past week, an opportunity to buy an historic downtown Sedalia business has netted several inquiries but no offers yet.
When Terry and Betty Modde posted news on their Facebook page that the couple was considering the sale of State Fair Floral, news spread quickly.
“We’ve really been quite surprised by the number of inquiries we have been getting,” Betty Modde said Tuesday afternoon sitting in the flower shop located at 520 S. Ohio Ave. “We have several interviews already lined up with interested buyers, both locally and from out of town.
“We want people to realize that we aren’t closing the store,” she added. “We are hoping to find the right fit and would like to sell this to someone who wants to keep the business open as a retail shop.”
State Fair Floral has a long history in Sedalia.
The shop was first opened in 1913 by Dr. Julius Cannaday, who, according to the book “All Along Ohio Street” by Becky Carr Imhauser, had a love of Floriculture in addition to a passion for medicine. A self-taught florist/botanist, he opened his greenhouses just north of the Missouri State Fairgrounds, according to Imhauser’s book.
“I’ve been told that the chimney at the State Fair Shopping Center was used by Dr. Cannaday as a way to heat his greenhouses,” Modde said. “Eventually he opened a flower store on Ohio Avenue.”
Although not its original location, the historic building will be difficult to part with, according to the couple.
“We really have such strong emotions about selling the business,” Terry Modde said. “The business is such a tradition in downtown; it’s like our baby.
“I think that so many people are buying up the old buildings downtown and they are not really concerned about wanting the businesses to continue,” he added. “It seems all they want is the property.”
The couple said they have been thinking about selling the property for a few years but became serious about the idea after Terry Modde retired from his job at the postal service.
“We’ve owned the business since June of 2007 and it would be nice to say we owned it a decade but if we find the right buyer we’ll know,” he said. “I worked for the postal service in Sedalia for 22 years and in fact delivered the mail downtown for a number of years.
“We want to be able to spend more time together with our children and grandchildren,” Modde said. “It will be nice to have the chance to travel more and do the things we enjoy.”
The Modde’s are only the fifth owners of the business that has been in operation more than 100 years.
The sale will include not only the two levels of the 4,320-square-foot building but the fixtures and four floral coolers.
Betty Modde said one advantage to owning a flower shop is that much of the business doesn’t require a great deal of foot traffic.
“So much of our business is done over the Internet or by phone,” she said. “I think that is very conducive to a historical place like downtown Sedalia.
“We’ve been very fortunate too with our employees; many of them have been with us for the duration,” she added. “They have always been very dependable and willing to learn as we have grown.”
The potential for growth is a selling point, according to the couple.
“We’ve been told that there is space upstairs to put four lofts that could be rented,” Terry Modde said. “There is tremendous potential for the building.
“It’s an excellent structure and we have been fortunate in that area that the people who owned the building before us took good care of it,” he added. “I think when we meet with the potential buyers we’ll get a sense of who will take care of it. It’s a fixture and we wish it to remain a flower shop, but once we sell it we know it is in their hands.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.