Originally Published: May 29, 2010 9:38 p.m.
It was September 2008 when Kim Jensen celebrated a decade of helping to bring the residents of Prescott Valley a little closer together.
Jensen, 44, began her annual Good Neighbor Day event as a way to foster kindness in the community. For the occasion, her Prescott Valley Florist shop donated thousands of flowers to people to give to others as a gesture of friendship.
Now, some community members are giving that generosity back to Jensen at a time when she desperately needs it as she fights for her career and her life.
"As much as bad things have happened, good things have happened, too," she said.
First, the economic downturn led Jensen to stop paying for medical coverage in 2008; she let go 10 of her 12 employees; and moved her business from its home of 13 years.
"We cut everywhere," she said.
Jensen even stopped taking a paycheck in October.
Then a colonoscopy early this spring revealed a tumor.
She went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments in April to shrink the tumor and Jensen said this week she expects to go into surgery in early July.
Her doctor believes stress and celiac disease, which a colonoscopy from four years ago found, is the likely culprit, according to Jensen, who said her prognosis is good.
Her health in shambles, Jensen is also losing her home and rental property, with both heading to an auction, and she and her son are temporarily living with friends in separate homes.
Despite all the upheaval and medical bills she anticipates to hit around $300,000, Jensen found a way to preserve her business through a letter campaign to local florists.
"My big fear was that I was going to have to close it," she said.
That's where Jim and Rakini Chinery come in.
Jim and Rakini own Allan's Flowers, and they first heard about Jensen's plan to sell from their flower wholesaler in March.
Jim said they knew Jensen was a smart flower shop owner. After a meeting with her and a chat with their investor, Jim and Rakini took the plunge and bought the business from Jensen in April while they were also moving their Prescott store to a new home.
"Once we met her, we knew that this could be a great thing for her, we were compatible," Jim said.
"We also saw it as an opportunity to keep another business from closing," Rakini added.
These days, Jim and Rakini are busy preparing their new Prescott store at 1095 E. Gurley St. in anticipation of their June 7 opening and they are taking on Jensen's shop at 8650 Highway 69, just east of Navajo Drive.
Jim and Rakini are keeping Jensen's former employees, the shop's name and the annual Good Neighbor Day event.
Rakini said they are changing the name of their Prescott shop to Allan's Flowers & More.
Despite all the adversity, Jensen remains positive.
"In the long run, it's all going to be good," she said.
Both stores are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
For more information, call the Prescott store at 445-5131 and the Prescott Valley Florist store at 772-9640 or visit www.allansflowers.com.