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Gift, Garden and Floral has uncertain future

It's likely that big changes are coming for Christine Schaffer and her business, Hastings Gift Garden and Floral. The land the business sits on will likely be sold to CVS Pharmacy, which is planning to develop on the site. Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson

Big changes are coming for a popular business here -- Hastings Gift Garden and Floral will likely be relocated by this time next year. Christine Schaffer, who owns the business, said that she has come to an agreement with CVS Pharmacy to sell the lot her business is on near the intersection of Vermillion and 15th streets.

"We have a pending sale of the property," she said. "There's a lot of things that still need to fall into place in order for it to go through."

Other businesses and homeowners in the area have presumably also come to an agreement with CVS. More details about the CVS development are expected to come out in the coming weeks when the firm brings plans to the Hastings planning commission.

Schaffer isn't sure just what will happen to her business.

Should CVS build on the site, she may chose to reopen a similar business in or around Hastings.

"I can't honestly tell you (what we will do)," she said. "We're looking at doing a rework of ourselves. If the sale doesn't go through, we will reopen in early 2014 with an updated, revamped store with all new merchandise.

"If (the sale) progresses, we will make decisions regarding where we'd like to move to, and what products we will have. That's what I'm not exactly sure on at this point. Some of that will be decided as time progresses."

Where this business would be located is another thing that is up in the air.

"That would depend on what real estate is available, and where," Schaffer said.

Since the water is so muddy regarding the future, Schaffer has decided to begin liquidating her inventory.

"At this point, we don't want to be caught in January or February with needing to be vacated within a month, and have snow and ice to contend with," she said. "We're just being a little proactive."

While Schaffer had no plans to sell the store or the land the store is on, she listened when CVS called and worked out a deal that she is comfortable with. She's heard rumors that the land was taken by eminent domain, and said those are not true.

"It's important for people to realize that change is a good thing sometimes," she said. "We're really not afraid of it. We're just going to embrace it. We're at a point where we're going to look at this like a really exciting opportunity for us."

Changes will begin taking effect immediately. On Friday, the store will stop selling fresh floral arrangements.

Anyone with gift certificates is encouraged to use them by the end of September, Schaffer said.

While Schaffer says she isn't afraid of the upcoming change, she does look back on her past 23 years with the store fondly.

"Over the past 20-odd years, I have gotten to work with such fun and wonderful people in Hastings," she said. "It will be hard, but I'm looking at an opportunity to maybe bring something that's a little fresher look to Hastings. I'm excited about that as well. I'm looking forward to what will come through."