KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A Kinston woman has been making people smile with her flower shop business for over 70 years. She doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Jewell Rider started her business in 1951, taking over from her mother-in-law’s sister, who was no longer able to run the flower shop on her own. She tells 9OYS she was working an office job and was unable to afford childcare at that time, so it seemed like the perfect solution.

At first, she worked out of a bedroom in her mother-in-law’s home.

“When I outgrew that, my father-in-law was head of the Coca-Cola plant and so they were building on something out there and had a tool house,” Rider said. “So when they got through the building, I got the tool house, and so then I moved that in the backyard.”

She later built onto the back of her own home before finally landing at the business’ permanent location at 704 Westover Avenue in 1976.

If you ask Rider what her favorite flower is, she’ll tell you, “I love them all, I couldn’t say I like one better than the other.”

It’s that joy and energy that leave many in awe.

“I’m 96,” she’ll tell you with a big smile on her face. “When you’re working with flowers, I mean, like I said, it’s about as close to God as you can get if you behave yourself,” she said with a laugh.

And it’s a family occasion, with Rider’s daughter and grandson working right alongside her every day.

“I have been doing this probably since I was born”, says Evelyn Rider-Mozingo.” My mom has been the backbone of this business and I’m trying to carry that on, we all are.”

Plus when you’ve been in business for over 70 years, you truly get to know your customers.

“I have a lot of people that call and they will say ‘I want to send something to Mr and Mrs. so and so’ and ‘Do you know what they like’ and if they are my customer, I can just about tell them what they like and what they don’t like.” 

After 70 years, she is still right there at Rider Florist nearly every single day doing what she loves best.

“You see people very happy come in and you see them very sad, and so you just talk with them, cry along with them,” Rider said.

Even on the days when it seems tough and you just don’t want to get out of bed.

“I just always jump right out and go,” she said. “You know a lot of times you don’t feel like it and you think ‘Well, I wish I could just stay here, but you know, you just get up and go.”