Shirley Lyons, AAF, PFCI, the recently retired owner of Dandelions Flowers & Gifts in Eugene, Oregon, received the fourth annual Tom Butler “Floral Retailer of the Year” award earlier this month during the American Floral Endowment fundraising dinner in conjunction with SAF Palm Springs 2018, the Society of American Florists 134th annual convention.
Established in 2015, the “Floral Retailer of the Year” Award was created to honor former Teleflora Chairman Tom Butler, who was devoted to serve as a trusted business partner, friend, and innovator to independent retail florists across the U.S. and Canada.
Lyons was selected for leading a superb retail operation, showing immense commitment to her community, and offering meaningful guidance to her fellow florists.
“We are extremely proud of Shirley Lyons for demonstrating Tom Butler’s legacy through her hard work at Dandelions Flowers & Gifts in Eugene. Her business acumen and community involvement are remarkable,” said Jack Howard, Executive Vice President of National Accounts at Teleflora. “In addition to her commitment to the community, Lyons’ numerous accolades and leadership roles within the floral industry – including SAF President and Chairman of the SAF board – exemplify why we are thrilled to honor her with this year’s Teleflora Floral Retailer of the Year Award.”
Lyons and her husband started Dandelions Flowers & Gifts more than 45 years ago while working in the banking industry. She realized her passion for the artistry of flowers and opened her 250-square-foot flower and gift shop, steadily growing her business and thriving on a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee with an aggressive marketing strategy.
The shop’s community involvement is evident through its yearly “Bras for a Cause” event, which encourages local businesses to decorate brassieres with the goal of raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Last year, the Oregon Cancer Foundation awarded her the inaugural Sparrow of Hope Award for her tireless contributions to this cause.
Lyons is also a powerhouse in the floral industry, taking on numerous leadership positions over the years. In 2014 she was named the Society of American Florists’ first female president. She subsequently served as the association’s chairman of the board.
In 2011, Lyons was recognized as “Business Woman of the Year” by the Eugene Chamber of Commerce.
Lyons said she was surprised to hear her name called.
“During the ceremony, I looked around the room and saw so many faces who could have won,” she said. “Our industry has so many wonderful, hardworking, and passionate retailers. They work tirelessly every day to help their customers relay emotional expressions of every kind from celebrations to sympathy with the beauty of flowers.”
“It was especially meaningful to be named after an industry icon and friend,” she continued. “Tom Butler was man of great character and integrity. His signature was reaching out to everyone he met with kindness and enthusiasm. Then of course, he followed it with a photograph that every one of those retailers still has in their shops today! Our industry was blessed by his presence and leadership.”
The award was also bittersweet for Lyons, whose father passed away this summer at age 92.
“He was my business inspiration and greatest cheerleader,” Lyons said. “In my heart, I received this in his honor of his ‘Go Get ‘Em, no whining, Greatest Generation’ spirit.”
“It has been my delight to touch lives daily with the beauty of God’s creation,” she said.