US: Floral industry mourns loss of ‘bright light’ Shelby Shy, AAF

Smart, forward-thinking businesswoman. Dedicated (and hilarious) friend and colleague. Devoted daughter. Loving mother. All around bright light.

These are just some of the descriptions being used this week to memorialize Shelby Shy, AAF, a past president of the Arkansas Florists Association and former Society of American Florists volunteer leader, who worked for many years in her family’s business, Shirley’s Flower Studio in Rogers, Arkansas. Shy died May 8 at the age of 38 and is survived by her parents, Jo Buttram, AAF, and Randy Buttram, and her two young sons, Brooks and Coleman, along with members of her extended family.

A celebration of her life will take place May 17 at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville.

“I think something we are all remembering today is her smile,” said Chris Norwood, AIFD, PFCI, of Tipton Hurst in Little Rock, and the current president of AFA. “She was always so positive and so forthcoming and generous with ideas — and she had a lot of ideas about the floral industry and its future.”

Shy began her career in the floral industry when she was 14, working in her family’s business. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in business communications, she worked for five years in merchandising for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. She then returned to Shirley’s, becoming a third-generation florist. Starting in 2007, she took on roles as the shop’s manager, marketing director and senior wedding consultant. In recent years, she founded her own business, Coleman Brooks Consulting.

As a volunteer leader and educator within the industry, Shy was well-known — and beloved. In addition to serving as AFA’s president and on the group’s board, she led regional educational sessions, served on SAF’s Consumer Marketing Committee, presented a number of times at the association’s annual convention and wrote more than 40 posts for, part of SAF’s consumer website.


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