BY KELLY NICHOLAIDES
for Montclair Local

Just as news of the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread, a Montclair family received a cheerful gift — a surprise bouquet of flowers delivered to their home.

Throughout 2020, a Grove Street florist is honoring 100 people with bouquets, as a marketing tool for its 100th anniversary, and to thank those who show kindness and give back to their communities. 

Foster parents turned legal guardians Dan and Alice Hurley of Montclair received their bouquet  on March 15. The bouquet of roses, tulips and hyacinths came beautifully wrapped in a wooden box from Bartlett Greenhouses & Florist in neighboring Clifton. 

The card read, “In celebration of our 100th anniversary we are honoring 100 special people in the community. You have been selected. Thank you for all that you do and are still doing,” signed Marietta, Nancy, Skip and the Bartlett staff.

“These folks have kindly gifted us with bouquets and such for years, ever since we began bringing our little Alexa to visit them and their resident cat and kittens and to buy flowers. We began as Alexa’s foster parents and are now her legal guardians. I suppose they just took a shine to Alexa and us. I have never known such kind, lovely retailers as the Bartletts. Montclair is lucky to have them,” Dan Hurley said.

The note sent to the Hurleys.
COURTESY OF DAN HURLEY
The note sent to the Hurleys.
COURTESY OF DAN HURLEY
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Bartlett Greenhouses & Florist was established in 1920 by the siblings’ grandparents, Sarah and Charles. Now in its third generation, the family business was passed down to Irene and Harry Bartlett before their children, Marietta, Nancy, and Skip, took it over. 

Nancy Bartlett said the idea for the “100 for 100” bouquets popped up when they brainstormed for the business’s centennial celebration. 

“We wanted to pick 100 people who have done something special for others or in general. We asked customers who came in to fill out suggestions. We’ve sent out 20 bouquets so far,” Nancy Bartlett said.  

So far, the Bartletts have bestowed the bouquets on a Montclair Park Street YMCA employee for her work with seniors; Jane Hanson, co-founder and recently retired executive director of Bloomfield-based Partners for Women and Justice, Inc., which helps those dealing with domestic violence and family law matters; The Bravitas Group CEO Bob Silver, for his work in support of cultural spaces to promote the Montclair Film Festival and Studio Montclair; and others.

Hanson said she was extremely touched by the Bartlett family and noted that she received her bouquet in January.

“They’ve been wonderful supporters of our organization and have helped us with flower arrangements at our benefit every year since 2003. They are lovely, talented people who make gorgeous floral arrangements,” she said.

As of March 20, 21 of 100 bouquets had been delivered. There will be more coming, as Bartlett’s remains open due to its farm status and as such is an essential business. Nancy Bartlett said future recipients will be first responders and medical personnel. 

During National Food Pantry Month in September, local groups that feed the hungry will also be surprised by bouquets.