New Hampton flower shop operating after fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Hampton flower shop operating after fire

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NEW HAMPTON (KWWL) -

A New Hampton flower shop is up and running, despite its building being destroyed by fire.  The Blue Iris Floral and Gifts on West Main Street was gutted by flames after fire broke out just after 5 a.m. Sunday.  

Despite the devastating fire, Blue Iris owner Julie Winter-Havel credits a wealth of community support for keeping her and her business going.

It's hard for her to walk past what's left of her Blue Iris flower shop in downtown New Hampton.

"It's just such a beautiful business, and it's kind of shocking to see that happen," Winter-Havel said.

The Blue Iris was Winter-Havel's work home for 13 years.  After the fire, the flower shop is considered a total loss.  Only a few small items could be salvaged from inside.  Even the shop's delivery van that was parked out back was charred by the intense flames.  Despite the devastation, Winter-Havel is committed to her shop and is still trying her best to conduct business as usual.

"You know we're taking phone calls and thanking people and taking orders.  So we're just going to continue on.  And it's still a little crazy this week.  We still have some weddings, and we're going to fulfill our duties, and I don't see that being a problem," she said.

She credits the community's support for allowing that to happen.  K & W Motors across the street from the Blue Iris is allowing her and her employees to set up a temporary shop, with a few tables and a donated cooler, ready for new flowers set to arrive Tuesday.

"There's no way I could even start or express to everybody that's  helped us.  Thank you to everybody:  fireman, volunteers, everybody that came, my very good friends-- I'm so grateful," said Winter-Havel.

As for the future, Winter-Havel says she is looking at other possible New Hampton locations, where she can recreate the Blue Iris.  But in the long term, her dream is to see the business she's poured her heart and soul into full restored and better than ever.  The burned flower shop building will have to be demolished, but she hopes to build a new one at the same location, to keep serving the community that's supported her through this difficult time.

The Blue Iris is still taking orders through its regular phone line.  Meanwhile, the beauty shop next door to the Blue Iris also sustained some damage in the fire.  Its owners have made arrangements to continue appointments starting Wednesday at another location.

As of now, investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.

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