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Best Florist 

Alex Waldbart Florist

Claire Waldbart Kramer is the great-granddaughter of the man who founded Alex Waldbart Florist in 1872 with a shop in the lobby of the Planter's Hotel downtown. The iconic green neon sign out front has been attracting customers since the 1930s, though it has hung in its current spot only since 1967. "I was five when we moved to this location. I wasn't a florist then, but I do remember the tastes of that era: lots of daisies and carnations," Kramer says. When her great-grandfather and grandfather were running the shop, she says, the flowers they sold were all grown in local greenhouses: gladioli, liatris, roses. "The business was much more seasonal back then. Now we can get any flower, anytime, from anywhere — mostly California and South America." Though it's a family business that's been around for 141 years, Alex Waldbart Florist is known for its fresh, contemporary floral designs. Gifts are also available. To complement a Valentine's Day arrangement, for instance, the shop offers award-winning Moonstruck chocolates from Portland, Oregon, as well as Linnea's Lights, the gorgeously packaged, double-wicked, triple-scented soy candles. The gardenia variety is made specially for Waldbart by the Indiana-based candle company.

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