By Dave Schwab
On Monday, Adelaide’s Florists & Decorators, a third-generation, family-owned business in La Jolla since 1949, changed hands but is keeping the same name and employees.
UTC resident Debbie Newell and her brother Steve, a Los Angeles resident, have teamed up to purchase all of the stock of the corporation from Gina Phillips. Phillips’ grandmo
ther Adelaide started the flower business in Encinitas in 1936 with an operating budget of $6. Her grandmother ran it as a single-person operation until her son Harry Jr. bought her out and became sole owner in 1974. His daughter Gina succeeded Harry when he died in 2009.
The store, at 7766 Girard Ave., is known for its personal service and wide selection. It is a repeat winner in the Light's Best of La Jolla competition.
“It’s going from one family to another but I want to reassure everyone that the Adelaide’s they know and love is all going to remain the same,” said Newell who said she’ll be running the floral shop’s operations. “We’re thrilled Gina has the trust and faith in us to take over her family business and carry on the Adelaide’s name.”
Phillips said the business is financially sound and that she is stepping down because of personal health issues. She added that she wants to reassure her clientele that Newell’s stewardship of the florist shop will be a continuation of, not a departure from, Adelaide’s longstanding tradition of service in La Jolla.
“It’s such a good team here: We’re not changing it — every single one of the employees are staying on,” Phillips said. “People will see all the same smiling faces along with Debbie at the helm. And I will still be here as a consultant, will still be around in the community. We’re keeping the tradition alive.”
Newell, whose business background is in interior design and sales, noted she’s always had “an interest and passion in flowers,” adding now she finally has an opportunity to “have a business with a heart, not just a business.”
Newell said her brother, a partner in the new venture, negotiated the deal to purchase Adelaide’s through a broker.
Adelaide’s released a letter Nov. 10 signed by its office manager stating the corporation will remain intact.
Newell said Phillips will stay on for a time as a consultant helping with the transition.
Newell intends to carry on the European-style floral shop’s long tradition of community service but added, “While we will all miss having Gina here, there are still several family members working here and we want to ensure that our commitment to the community will not only remain intact, but continue to improve."