Skokie flower shop closing after 70 years due to COVID-19 pandemic struggles honored with farewell parade

SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- Marge's Flowers has been a staple in Skokie for the past 70 years, but Friday the community turned a sad moment into something memorable as they said goodbye to the beloved shop with a farewell parade.

It was an emotional day for Ron and Gloria Kalmes, who've owned the local flower shop for 45 years. It's been in Ron's family since 1950 when his mother Marge and his Aunt opened up the doors.

"We've had some real good times and met a lot of people that are really nice in this town," Ron said.

Over the last five years, the flower industry has changed and competition has been increasing, this family owned shop was able to stay afloat. That is, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit and stores had to shut down.

"With the COVID-19, we lost Passover, Easter, Mother's Day, and Secretary's week. Niles North and Niles West graduations, awards, the proms, [and] the big weddings in June," Gloria said.

The Kalmes had to make the gut-wrenching decision to close their doors for good.

One of the hardest parts was answering all the calls and messages that kept coming all day.

"We appreciate your friendship and all of the business you've given us," the couple told customers.

Ron and Gloria say they are not sure what's next for them. With so much of their history spent in their beloved shop, it's hard for them to imagine not working six days a week.

Marge's Flower shop officially closed at 5 p.m. The Kalmes said they plan to spend the next week selling off everything inside.

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