BANGOR, Maine — Hancock Point resident Trudy Clarke was one of the last people to pick up a free dozen roses from Bangor Floral, which gave out 200 dozen, or 2,400, flowers Thursday to celebrate its 85th anniversary.
“Today is my birthday,” Clarke said while manager Nicole Frederick presented her with a dozen long-stemmed red roses.
“We ask that you keep two for yourself and hand out the rest to friends and family,” Frederick said each time she gave away the flower bundles.
Clarke, who turned 57 on Thursday and came to town to see her dad at the Maine Veterans’ Home, said that would not be a problem.
“I’ll share them with him and the nurses,” she said.
People began to line up for the free anniversary flowers at 6:30 a.m., even though the business didn’t open until two hours later, said Frederick, who is a fourth-generation florist.
“The line went pretty much around the building,” she said.
The Fredericks have a long history with Bangor Floral, which opened its doors in 1925 on outer State Street. The flower shop moved into its current location in an old church on the corner of Center and Cumberland streets 25 years ago, Frederick said.
“My father purchased Bangor Floral 30 years ago from the Graves” family, she said of her father, Phil Frederick.
Over the decades, the flower business has changed with the times, Frederick said. It now offers floral design classes, thanks to the “Martha Stewart mentality”; happy-hour pricing, in which people can pick out flowers for half-price every weekday between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. (roses are not included); and delivery, It even sends text messages about specials to customers who sign up for the service, Frederick said.
Several men who stopped by Bangor Floral to get free flowers said they planned to surprise their wives or girlfriends.
“My wife has an hour before she has to go to work, so I was going to surprise her with them,” said Bangor resident Joel Rice. His wife is Angelina Rice.
Aaron Paradis, also of Bangor, and Dedham resident Keith Ogden both said the planned to give the flowers they picked up to their girlfriends.
“It’s my fourth anniversary today,” said Ogden, who is dating Melinda Ward.
If making people smile was part of the goal of the flower giveaway, the business easily succeeded, with many of the recipients saying things such as “This is wonderful.”
“We wanted to do something to thank the community [and] to get flowers out to as many people as possible,” Frederick said.