Denise Romatzke is a woman of faith who believes that everything happens for a reason. For nearly 28 years she has enjoyed owning a business she never thought she would, and now it is time for a new chapter.

At the end of April, Ribbons & Roses flower shop will no longer be open - ending a floral business that has graced Lake Avenue for decades. Prior to Denise taking over, the shop was owned by Milan Block and was known as Petals & Plants. When Block decided to retire and sell the shop a friend told Denise about the opportunity.

Denise was working at Monroes in Cozad at the time but was looking for something different, and her friend knew it. “My grandmother had a great big flower garden and I always played in that. I got into a floral design class when I was selling HODA and that got me interested,” Denise explained.

Unsure about getting into a business she really knew very little about, Denise said her friend was very persuasive. “She told me, ‘you just come and look at it, and if you say no I will back off and not say another word.’ So I came and looked at it, and Milan said he would stay on and help me.”

She began to entertain the idea of buying the shop, but Denise said she anticipated her co-workers at Monroe’s doing their best to convince her it was not a smart decision. That did not happen. “I went out there and I could not find one person who objected. So I went home and said a prayer for the Lord to help me through any financial trials,” Denise said.

Sensing it was time to make a change in her life, Denise moved forward with the purchase in September 1993. The Block’s stayed with her for the first few months helping guide her through becoming a business owner. Denise said she also got lucky to find someone else to help her. “I was fortunate to have another gal who had been working in a flower shop since she was 16, and she got on board with me for awhile. She showed me a lot of things,” said Denise. “We went to design shows that the warehouses would put on and I learned more from that. It was just hard knock schooling,” she laughed.

Denise said she has thoroughly enjoyed her years in the flower shop and has built a wonderful relationship with her customers. However, she knew the time had come to give it up and move on. “I had the shop on the market and was just praying that the dear Lord would find somebody to take over and stay with my customers because I love them. As Valentine’s Day approached I prayed that God would either make it a great Valentine’s or show me a way out, and on Monday or Tuesday I had two offers on the building,” Denise said.

Her immediate plans are simple. “Enjoy my family and friends, and go visit people - travel or whatever! I don’t really have a game plan, just wherever He leads me,” she said. “Every time the family gets together I have had to tell them I can’t because I have to be here. I have girlfriends that I have never been to their homes, so I’m going to go see them.”

The closing on the sale of Ribbons & Roses is April 30, which will be the end of an era of a floral shop in that location. Denise said above all she is grateful to those who have supported her all these years. “I have just the best clientele, and I kind of feel bad for leaving them. But like I said, I have to follow the Lord and move on.”

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.537.9498