Claire Olson has lived in Manitowoc all her life. Roorbach Flowers, the business she owns, has been in the community since 1952. It was started by her parents and taken over by Claire and her husband, Jim, in the mid-nineties.
As a longtime resident of Manitowoc, Claire has seen a lot of changes in the city. She sees more stores and businesses in Manitowoc being owned by out of state corporations, companies that don't necessarily put the interests of the community first. And while box stores have proven to be a major challenge for area businesses, internet shopping is proving to be an equal threat. But there is still something special about the small business experience, Claire feels.
It's not so much that Claire wants to see Manitowoc County how it used to be, just that she wants to see it how it should be, a place where the inhabitants have real connections to each other and to the community as a whole.
That's why Claire became an owner of the Clipper City Co-op. It's about community. "If people know you have a co-op, people know you have a community that cares," said Claire. "It sets you apart from communities that haven't thought that far ahead."
Claire is thinking ahead, using a lifetime's experience to guide her. For multiple years now, Roorbach Flowers has helped in the co-op's ownership drive, holding daylong sign-ups at Roorbach's and offering gift certificates to anyone who becomes a member on that day. It was her plan to do the same this year, however, like most everyone else's plans, the pandemic has made things somewhat uncertain as of this writing.
It has been Claire's life work to help things grow and blossom. In becoming an owner of the Clipper City Co-op, she's helping to plant a seed that will brighten the Manitowoc community in the years to come.