45 years downtown: Lil Pear Tree finds renewed sense of self

A mainstay of Downtown Midland recently celebrated its 45th year in business.

Lil Pear Tree, a floral services shop and second-generation family business, opened in Downtown Midland in 1973. It’s been here ever since.

Even when searching for a new location half a decade ago, Gwen Malone, who took over the family business following her mother Joyce Yeakle’s passing in 2010, couldn’t imagine Lil Pear Tree being anywhere but downtown.

"It feels like home here. It’s a neighborhood we really like with a lot of people that we know down here," Malone says. "It’s the heart of the city."

As Malone took over the family business, she began to transition Lil Pear Tree from a floral services and gift shop to a more strictly floral services shop. While some gifts remain, the transition has allowed the business to focus on their strength: Flowers.

Malone has a phrase for what they do, Floral Fusion, and it reflects the wide ranging but floral-specific services that they offer.

Lil Pear Tree focuses on three types of floral services they specialize in. There are the fresh flowers, including daily arrangements, bridal and other event designs, deliveries, and setups. They also design and create real flower petal jewelry. And, last but not least, Malone says that Lil Pear Tree is just one of two places in the state of Michigan where customers can find true freeze-dried flower services, preserving flowers in place in the form of shadowboxes, domes, and ornaments.

Having been downtown for nearly five decades, the Lil Pear Tree family has seen its fair share of changes. But the latest changes have them excited, especially the outdoor summer life, which is something they hope to join in on in the future.

"There’s an excitement downtown, and especially now. It’s becoming more and more pedestrian friendly. People are on the street," Malone says.

Lil Pear Tree is located at 222 E. Main St. in downtown Midland.

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