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Buds & Blossoms holds ribbon cutting on store addition

LaFAYETTE — The Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting at Buds & Blossoms, The Market Shops on 431 Tuesday afternoon.

The Buds & Blossoms part goes back a long time. It’s The Market Shops that’s new, and something owner Dwain Welch hopes will play a part in making LaFayette a shopping destination.

“I was born in the Wheeler Hospital in LaFayette and have lived here all my life,” Welch told attendees at the ribbon cutting. “I have never lived anywhere else. I’ve lived in two different houses in this town.”

Welch said he has seen lots of people move away from LaFayette in his lifetime, but he did not want to be among them. He said there have been times he has thought about opening a business in the Opelika-Auburn area but decided on building on what he has off US 431 on LaFayette’s north side. He’s been at his current location for close to 40 years. He ran a daycare in the building from 1981 to 1986, when he opened the Buds & Blossoms flower shop.

He’s done a good business from his current location across from Dollar General and not far from 431’s junction with Highway 77.

The Market Shops is a combination of an antique store, booth rentals and consignments.

“I’ve been here a long time, and we are going to do things differently from now on,” he said. “It’s all about adapting and being part of what could make LaFayette a shopping destination. I’m not in competition with downtown businesses. I do a lot of different things and am not like any other business in LaFayette.”

One of those side activities is decorating local homes and businesses for Christmas. He has a florist’s touch in making things look beautiful. One example is the Farmers & Merchants Bank in downtown LaFayette, which he said took his crew many hours to accomplish. In all 25,000 lights on the building, trees and shrubbery are a sight to see once the sun goes down.

“LaFayette doesn’t decorate for Christmas like it once did, but those who do go all out have something really special,” Welch said. “The problem with most people decorating for Christmas is that they wait too long to start planning and getting it done. You really need to start in October or in November at the latest.”

Welch said he had one unforgettable day at his business. It was the day an EF-1 tornado touched down on LaFayette’s north side.

“I think it was back in 2006,” he said. “We knew we were under a tornado watch, and when I heard the siren go off I knew one had been spotted. I had always heard that a tornado sounded like a freight train coming at you. That’s a good description. It’s exactly what it sounded like, and I will never forget it as long as I live. There were seven people in the building at the time, and we all crowded into the safest place we could think of — the bathroom. Just as the door was closed, that tornado hit the building with a loud boom. It caused a lot of damage on the backside of the building, but the main thing is that we were all safe.”

The damage didn’t keep Welch closed for long. He was back in business the next week.

Welch is excited about expanding his business. One might say that Buds & Blossoms is branching out.

“Most of the new business will be consignments,” he said. “Most vendors are interested in having a booth here and for us to sell for them. Others will sell directly from their booth.”

He currently has a few booth spaces available.

Welch encourages everyone to check him out on Facebook.