Gould's Flowers & Gifts gets upgrades after enduring through Covid

Feb. 18—LOCKPORT — The owner of an iconic business downtown is happy to say the renovation of its storefront is nearly complete.

Gould's Flowers & Gifts, in business for more than 145 years and in Lockport since the 1940s, has received a much needed facelift and interior improvements, after enduring through the Covid pandemic.

Janet Gould, a fourth generation florist, plans to hand the business over to her niece within four to five years. For now, she still has a steady hand with the pruning shears and enjoys her work. She noted that during the pandemic, she often worked alone in the shop for fear of the virus.

Gould believed the shop needed revitalizing and not just because of the pandemic. She reached out and eventually scored two business development grants, one from Niagara County and the other through Greater Lockport Development Corporation.

Brian Smith, CEO of GLDC, noted that Gould's Flowers was eligible for a share of the City of Lockport's Downtown Revitalization Initiative award and could get a "dollar for dollar" match on any investment she made in her property. In this case, for every $100 Gould spent, she received $100 from the DRI fund.

GLDC vice president Heather Peck, who worked with Gould on the improved storefront, has encouraged "everyone to go down and check it out."

"She did a wonderful job that really speaks to the building. It turned out beautifully," Peck said.

Between the DRI fund and the Niagara County Facade Program, Gould secured about $70,000 of support for the work. The now-ended facade program, financed from the county's share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, kicked in $1 for every $1 spent by a business that sustained losses due to the onset of the pandemic.

Being from a family that grows flowers, Gould said she's fascinated by all of the different places they come from. In her shop on Wednesday, she fondly reminisced over her trip to Amsterdam, where flowers are brought in on trolleys and sent all around the world.

Gould also believes the work done on her store is beautiful and she made a point of naming the contractors: Chimney Sweep Plus, which repaired the concrete and did the brick work on the building facade; and RJR Improvements Inc., which did the framing for the new glass windows and door installed by Twin City Glass. All of them were "wonderful" to work with, she said.

The cooler where flowers are stored also got some love — new tile flooring — which prompted Gould to recall the days when her father operated greenhouses in Middleport. Eventually the cost of coal became too much and the greenhouses were abandoned, she said. The scent inside a greenhouse during winter is unforgettable, she added.

The final piece of Gould's Flowers revitalization is yet to come. Gould said she's planning to decorate the way her father did, at another location, and have "Gould's" spelled out in tiles just inside the front door.