JANESVILLE (WIFR) -- After more than six decades in the business a Janesville florist is retiring his green thumb.
23 News Reporter Shannon Smith tells us how Tom Carlson has kept his family's business thriving and turned his customers into family.
"I often tell people i was born in a greenhouse, well i wasn't figuratively but i was about 20 feet away in the house," Carlson said.
It's a passion that's fueled Carlson since he was just a little boy.
"My first job was selling tomato plants at the age of seven," Carlson said.
Now the 82 year old is retiring and closing the doors to his business Fairview Florist in Janesville... for good.
"I always associated retirement with people who appeared outwardly to be financially stable and strong. I never felt I reached that point but when I look back now at the lives that I've affected and touched, I guess I have been successful," Carlson said.
Carlson says one former employee tells him he helped change her life.
"She says well I'm that brat that worked out in your greenhouse 3 years ago and she said I was having a problem and if i hadn't worked for Tom and Linda Carlson i would not have solved my addiction problem," Carlson said.
Carlson says being a florist has taken him across the world. Where he's visited 35 countries. But for him the best part of the job has been the friendships that have blossomed with his Stateline customers throughout the years.
"I'm going to miss the customers, because they became family. i have customers that have been with us for 40 or 50 years," Carlson said.
And it's that bond Carlson says it will be difficult to say goodbye to.
"It's going to hurt it's going to be painful," Carlson said.
Once he closes his store for good next week. Carlson will still sell patio furniture from his home. His last day is July 31st he says he plans to use his free time volunteering and traveling.