Photo by Don Manley | Nancy Carrington and some of the items found in her shop—Marco Island Florist Home and Gifts. Nancy Carrington marveled at time’s rapid passage while reflecting on more than three decades as the owner of Marco Island Florist Home and Gifts. It’s been a journey filled with warm relationships, rewarding moments and challenges overcome; an experience that she describes as “pretty amazing.”

Located on South Barfield Drive, the shop offers live plants and flowers, floral designs, gourmet gift baskets and other unique gifts, home décor items, clothing, hand-crafted jewelry from local artists and even wines. The creations of local artists grace the walls.

This year marks the 40th anniversary for the business and Carrington’s 32nd year as owner. She bought the shop in 1988 from Werner Schaefer and Tony Schlottmann. The transaction led her to move from Fort Myers to the Isles of Capri, where her parents were living.

Floral design became a passion during her youth in Fort Wayne, Ind. After high school, she attended Purdue University for one year, but decided against continuing down that path. “I said college isn’t for me. I want to move on and get into the grind,” Carrington remarked. So, she decided to follow her heart when it came to a career.

After studying at the American Floral Art School in Chicago, she burnished her skill-set while working at a Fort Wayne flower shop for 5 years. That was followed by a 3-year stint as a flower shop manager in Dallas. Carrington then moved to Fort Myers for 3 years, where she met her future husband, the late Joe Carrington, who passed away in September.

Then Carrington’s parents, Bill and Lois Silver, who’d moved to Isles of Capri in 1978, informed her that Marco Florist was on the market. It was a case of the right opportunity appearing at the right time.

“My mom and dad had owned a Dairy Queen for 35 years, so I guess small businesses run in the family,” Carrington explained. “They said, ‘We’ll invest in you and to help you buy the business, we’ll give you the down payment.’”

With that, the purchase was made and Carrington and her husband became the new owners.

At that time, Marco Island Florist was situated on South Collier Boulevard, where Harborview Realty is located today. Schaefer and Schlottmann also owned a second store at that time, The Flower Bazaar, which was located in the Shops of Marco. They closed that store, sold the Marco Island Florist name to the Carringtons, and they began operating from the Shops of Marco space.

The business eventually outgrew that space. That led the Carringtons to erect a stand-alone building across South Barfield from the Shops of Marco in 1999. “My husband was a general contractor, so we laid it out and built it,” she said. “We’ve added a few extra rooms, but mostly for the last 20 years, it hasn’t changed a lot.”

What the passing years have included are altered landscape for the florist industry and new developments for […]