Thistles Way

Lois’ Journey to Thistles Flower Market

The year was 1967. Lois was a 20-year-old college student transferring back to her hometown of Pella, Iowa to acquire her degree in Elementary Education from Central College. College funds were dwindling, and Lois needed a job. While searching the town, she found employment at a little floral shop on Main Street named DeJong Florist. There she worked for Luella Van Maanen and spent her days cleaning, delivering orders, and helping move the shop’s location over to Franklin Street which entailed more cleaning and painting. Throughout this experience Lois’ love for flowers and flower design began to grow.

In 1971, after teaching fourth grade for a couple of years, Lois married Bob Vermeer and they had three children. She found herself caring for her home and family full-time, while also volunteering in the community and participating in the Pella Garden Club. Once again, she surrounded herself with flowers, plants, design, and creativity.

Fast forward several years. Janet Fogle, the owner of Thistles Flower Shop, where Bob and Lois were frequent customers, asked if they knew of anyone who would like to buy a flower shop. Lois replied that they would think about possible buyers, but inside her head, a neon sign was flashing, “Me, me, me!” She thought to herself, “Pella needs to keep this flower shop.” After talking with her husband and family, Lois agreed to purchase Thistles Flower Shop. The staff , with Shirley Vermeer at the helm as store manager, was crucial in the smooth transition.

Lois feels at home in the shop. She appreciates the beauty of the florals and the atmosphere of creativity and positivity that presents itself there. At first, she questioned the name of the business. “Thistles” was an unusual name for a floral shop, but yet unique and memorable. After reflecting on the variety customers, events, and reasons for giving flowers, it was obvious that “Thistles” was a perfect fit. It is a flower with a lovely bloom, yet also has thorns and prickles, much like life and the stories shared through her customers. Los has the goal as Thistles serves people: “We are blessed to be a blessing to others.”

Recently Bob and Lois purchased the historic 120-year old building Thistles has been residing in and have expanded into “Thistle Flower Market.” Thistles now has more floor space to display the many creative arrangements, gifting options and unique home décor. Lois invites you in to experience all that Thistles Flower Market has to offer.

Serving our customers with the joy and beauty of creativity is really at the heart of Thistles Flower Market.