Arkansas Florists Association

The Arkansas Florists Association is committed to supporting and advancing the interests of florists throughout the state. Our organization takes pride in providing educational and networking opportunities for all florists by hosting events, setting up workshops and hands-on classes, and providing a creative outlet for competition. We have a rich history and are deeply dedicated to enriching the future of the floral industry in Arkansas.

The rules and regulations governing AFA’s internal operations. 

Elected AFA members appointed to oversee the operations of our organization.

Our History

Back in 1952, the Arkansas Florists Association blossomed under the guidance of Mrs. C.L. Tipton, the organization’s chairperson. The founding committee included creative visionaries such as Joe Hurst, Albert Shepherd, Bill Plummer AIFD, Wade Black, Buddy Meyer, Opal Lawton, and Bill Purdy.

For over seven decades, the Arkansas Florists Association has been at the forefront of the floral industry. With 250+ members and associates, the organization’s family continues to flourish.

One of the ways in which the Arkansas Florists Association has established itself as a leader in floral education is through its annual state convention. The convention plays host to scholarship competitions that promote florists’ knowledge and education. The scholarship design competition is a ground-level and skilled designer’s contest that rewards cash prizes and top schooling scholarships to winners. Notably, the Arkansas Cup is open to designers from all over the United States, with the Arkansas Cup Trophy, Bill Plummer scholarships, cash award from Southern Wholesale, and a chance to represent Arkansas in the Mid America Invitational Cup competition up for grabs.

Since its inception by Jo Buttram of Shirley’s Flowers in Rogers, Arkansas in 2006, the Mid America competition has grown to become one of the leading design competitions in the nation. Kay Schlaefli AIFD of Expressions Flowers in Fort Smith, Arkansas took over the reins as chairperson and steered the competition to new heights. The 2022 event saw 22 designers from all over the country come together to compete for Mid America Trophy, a $1500 cash prize awarded by the Arkansas Florists Association, and a $500 cash prize for Slyvia Cup registration, with a chance to compete at SAF.

Looking ahead, the Arkansas Florists Association is well-positioned to remain at the forefront of the floral industry. With steadfast leadership that has kept the organization blooming for over 71 years, the future only looks brighter for this vibrant association.

In Memoriam

It is with heartfelt and fond memories that we honor the following people who have given so much to the Arkansas Florists Association.

Mary Robertson

Mother to Robert Robertson AIFD, CFD, AMF

Past President of AFA

Owner – Expressions Flowers of Fort Smith

Bill Plummer AIFD

Founding member of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). 

Founding member and long-time secretary/treasurer of the Arkansas Florists Association.

Thelma Gatson

Mother to Jack Gatson – Southern Wholesale & Jim Gatson – River Valley Floral Distributors

Shelby Shy AFF

2018 AFA President

Owner – Shirley’s Flower of Rogers

Brandon Red

Southern Wholesale

Son of Michelle Red – AFA Board Member of Benton

Corrine Shepherd

Wife to Albert Shepherd – Past AFA President

Co-Owner – Shepherd’s Flowers of Pine Bluff

Bige Way

Husband of Lisa Wray – Past AFA President

Co-Owner – Carren’s Flowers of Searcy

Shirley Lovett

AFA Member

Owner – Unique Florist of Alma

Ron Winkle

Arkansas Florists Association Photographer of Bryant

Sue Dell Black

Past AFA President

Raymon Caple

Past AFA President

William “Bill” Cole

AFA Member

Former Owner – Accent Flowers & Gifts of Fort Smith

Bobbi Blatchford Ecker

AFA Convention Commentator

Nick Schembra CFD

Flowers & Home of Benton

Bea Leonard

Green With Ivy of Fort Smith

Haroldean Wilson

Past AFA President

John Purdy

Past AFA President

Pat Haering

Past AFA President

Garlene Lewis

AFA Website Editor

Member of Numerous AFA Committees

Norman Caldwell

Benton Floral Design of Benton

Debbie Parsons

Parons’s Wholesale of Searcy

George McCool

Father of June Owen

Patrick Owen

Son of June Owen

Walter Larsen

Father of Brian Larsen

Grandfather of Lance Larsen

Lou Cook AIFD

Former AFA President

Founder of Arkansas Master Florists program

Member of Numerous AFA Committees

Scroll to Top