Betty Jo McMullen has operated B.J.’s Flower Basket at 101 Main Street for an astonishing 63 years in the same location. Local residents recently began to notice a container outside of her store with red ribbons, free for the taking. We caught up with BJ to find out about the intent behind this. She explained that the ribbons were a symbol of hope and unity during these difficult times we’re living in now. She thought about the yellow ribbons of years past and was inspired to do something similar as a message of support for fellow Safety Harbor residents. “It’s all about help for the harbor” she says.
Her daughter Melanie and her granddaughter Ginny are making the ribbons every night while they watch TV. The ribbons are a red bow with streamers and most of them are taken by the public every day. If you see red ribbons popping up on trees and door knobs around town you’ll know this is where they came from. BJ said she just wants to give a little note of encouragement to Harbor residents to say “together we can get through anything”. More than 100 ribbons have been picked up so far. She leaves a bin out in front of her store 24 hours a day, every day of the week. All of the feedback she has gotten so far has been positive and encouraging.
BJ has lived in the area her entire life and her children now live in the house she grew up in on McMullen-Booth Road. Although the store is not open to the public right now, florists are able to make deliveries. She says they deliver flowers to people’s homes and wipe the containers off with Clorox. She calls the resident to let them know they have flowers on their front porch or doorstep.