Robert Whitley and his daughter, Caroline Photo courtesy Robert Whitley Whitley’s Flowers opened its doors in 1947 at the historic King Edward Hotel. Originally owned by Harold and Anita Whitley, it moved to its current location in 1969. In 1977, their son Robert Whitley, who was fresh out of college, and his newly-wed bride Joan began managing the shop. What started on a whim of his parents, has turned into a lifetime pursuit for Robert Whitley. “I was born into (flowers),” Whitley says. “I never had any desire to do anything else.” Whitley, 65, knew from a very young age than that that he wanted to work in the store, surrounded by flowers and those who appreciate them. He says he loves the business aspect of running the flower shop. “What I like about (the store) most of all is that I provide a service for my customers,” Whitley says. “Flowers are not usually much of an impulse buy. There’s a purpose behind it, and I like helping solve or get that taken care of.” Whitley, who was born and raised in Jackson—specifically in Fondren—has only lived in one other city since his birth, Starkville, back when he was a retail florist manager major at the Mississippi State University. He says he enjoyed every part of running his business, but he always enjoyed delivering flowers because it helped him to learn the area he loves. “I’ve always enjoyed delivering, driving around and going to places I’d never been before,” Whitley says. “I didn’t have any desire to go anywhere else. I love Fondren. It is what I live for.” Flower arrangement, to Whitley, is an art form. Like a woodworker or a sculptor, a florist builds a piece by adding and subtracting pieces until it is the best it […]