Al operated a taxi & ambulance service in addition to his flower shop. In the early 40's Howard Downing lived down the street from Al's home, he started working there as an ambulance attendant and in the flower shop. Hart then bought out Art Coudrey's Flower Shop, located in the back of the old Hires Root Beer Fountain at 12th & I street across from the Post Office. In the mid 40's, after two years of navy duty, then Al Hart moved Hart Floral to the old Stanislaus Title Building in back of Bank of America at 10th & I St. Howard returned to Hart Floral & met Wilma ; they were married a year later. They moved to Pacific Grove, where Howard & Wilma opened a flower shop called Flowers by Howard. After a few years they returned to Modesto to work for the Harts, who by that time had moved to the Seeley Building at 926 12th St. Al Hart passed away in 1950, and the Downing's bought the store in 1954. In 1956 the flower shop was destroyed by a fire five days before Christmas. Thanks to their friend and fellow florist, Louie Hammer, they were able to operate out of the back of his store for a few days until they found temporary quarters. They eventually moved back to a much smaller building in the Seeley tower. In 1971 they had the opportunity to move to 1139 Mchenry ave., where there was an empty fast food building called Booby's ( yes, that was its real name ). The building had to be gutted and remodeled.They decided to keep the drive-in window and changed the name to Hart Floral Drive-in Florist. In 2000 Hart Floral took advantage of an opportunity to move across the street to the North West corner of Mchenry & Roseburg. This move doubled the size of the shop's show room, design area, & parking. The shop was, however, missing a drive up window. Howard has now retired, his son Chris & Howard's wife Wilma operate the shop. Since the move to Mchenry Ave. the business has continued to grow.
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