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Flowers And Much More At Downtown Locale
Cydni Staal, Judy Elam, Leanne Hunteman, Haleigh Bailey, Elizabeth Staal, and Hannah Bailey, are all involved in the new family business. Everyone does their part in helping the Oakdale Flowers and More shop run smoothly. - photo by Virginia Still/The Leader

The new owners of the flower shop at 304 F St., downtown Oakdale, are a family. Leanne Hunteman and Cydni Staal are a mother and daughter team that work very well together. Other family members have jumped on board to help the business bloom, like Staal’s daughters, Hannah, Haleigh, Elizabeth, and her brother, Matt Gordon. Judy Elam, Leanne’s cousin, is the store manager and according to Hunteman, a true cowgirl. Elam is also a calf buyer and makes trips to Oregon to pick up cattle when she’s not busy in the shop.

Staal and Hunteman took over the flower shop several months ago and are feeling comfortable, busily preparing for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. The shop has fresh flowers delivered on a regular basis. Poletti Flowers are local florists that go to the coast weekly to pick up fresh flowers and bring them back to the Oakdale flower shop. They make custom arrangements and have a variety of flowers including orchids, roses, lilies, gerbera daisies, mini callas and many more. Maybe you are looking for something different like a tropical bouquet with yellow pincushion proteas, birds of paradise, and oncidium orchids, Oakdale Flowers and More has them. Not only do they have a variety of floral arrangements, but they have an array of plants as well. Some of the plant varieties are Azaleas, potted orchids, red margined dracaena, peace lily, dwarf schefflera, dumb cane, parlor palm, and many more.

A line of decorative gift baskets is featured, filled with items ranging from fruits, to gourmet food items, a chocolate basket, junk food, salty snacks, and a ‘Pamper Me’ basket with lotions and candles. They have unique gifts like custom made wine barrels, wine racks, flickering pictures, local art, and Clamkins. Everything they carry in their shop is made by local people or local vendors. They have started a baby section where they make custom diaper ‘cakes’ – crafting a non-edible cake-like sculpture out of diapers and other specialty items. The ladies work with a custom engraver as well. He has made them custom laser engraved signs and decorative pieces. The laser engraving can be used on trophies, glassware, and marble. Some items are on consignment that other local people have brought in.

“We don’t mind sharing the wealth around here,” said Hunteman of the wide assortment of services offered.

Staal’s dream since she was a little girl was to own a flower shop, she said. She currently works outside the shop as well, but is at the flower business as much as she can be. Staal resides in Oakdale and has been a resident here for many years. Her daughters, Haleigh and Elizabeth go to Oakdale High School and Hannah is a full time student at Modesto Junior College.  They all pitch in for deliveries or for whatever the business needs may be.

“I love arranging flowers and being here, it is not like working at all,” said Staal.

The dream came alive for Hunteman and Staal when Aunt Hope Owens offered to help get them started. Owens lives in La Jolla and according to Hunteman is a tough lady that is “sharp as a tack.”

“If Aunt Hope didn’t help us out, we wouldn’t be in business today,” said Hunteman. “We owe her many thanks.”

Hunteman is a retired corrections officer and started working with flowers and arrangements in Colorado at Safeway stores, many years ago. She also worked for Von’s and other private florists to enrich her floral experience. She finally worked her way up the ladder and became a floral manager. Hunteman and Staal both stated that they really love working with the people and building arrangements that are above and beyond expectations.

The one thing that they both expressed that is very important is giving great customer service. They want to make sure their flowers, gifts, baskets, or unique items, give the comfort and enjoyment that they are supposed to. Customer service is something they pride themselves on and is something they want their customers talking about as well as the quality of their special products.