By Sean Leary

Family florist business has flourished and has been having fun since 1933.

Colman Florist’s family business has bloomed as beautifully as its signature roses.The flower and gift shop has been kept fertile and vibrant through five generations of sons and daughters continuing the family heritage begun in Ghent, Belgium, by Desiderius Colman and his wife Philomena.

Desiderius and his son, Henry, were award-winning floral designers and in 1910, Henry and his wife, Cornelia, emigrated to the United States with their 10-year-old son, Ray. Both would end up employed at Stapp Florists, on Rock Island’s 12th Street at 23rd Avenue, but Ray would ultimately branch off to form his own shop across from Chippiannock Cemetery on 12th Street, along with his own son, Richard “Dick” Colman.

In 1933, Ray Colman opened Colman Florist for business at 2754 12th Street, eventually expanding and adding greenhouses at the rear of the shop bursting with colorful roses, snapdragons, chrysanthemums, carnations, and more. Current owner Patricia Belvel moved the business two years ago to its current location at 1623 2nd Avenue in Rock Island, but the family tradition of customer service, quality care and a superior product still remains entrenched in their roots.

“It’s always been fun for me, growing up in the business,” Patricia said. “I learned a lot from my family. I started out in the greenhouse, then worked in all parts of the business, design, sales, I learned it all.”

What was the most important lesson? “Provide a good product and provide great customer service and people will remember you and come back,” Patricia said. “That’s what we always try to do, and it’s great to see familiar faces return and people come back to us for all of the moments in their lives. I love working with people, every day is different, it’s not the same thing over and over again.

“It’s really kind of a unique job, we see people along the way from birth to the end and all of their big occasions in between,” Patricia said. “We just saw a woman who was buying flowers for her daughter to go to prom, and we’ve seen girls coming in for their high school dances and years later they’ll be back for their weddings, and then the births of their children. It’s really great and a unique side of the business that I love.”

For more information on Colman, please see or call (309) 786-4433.