Daffodils

In gardens across Central Kentucky, daffodils are reaching for the sun, and buds are opening. But there’s a place in Lexington where they’re in bloom all year: Daffodils Fine Stationery and Gifts in Meadowthorpe.

No invitation necessary: Daffodils is easy to spot with its striped yellow awning and its hint of Chevy Chase on Leestown Road. Step inside, and there’s the immediate feel of springtime and possibilities, appropriate for a store that specializes in engraved promises of good times to come.

Please comma to our party: An employee is behind the counter, going over the details of an invitation on the phone: “Would you like a comma after that?” She’s surrounded by cheery paper goods tied up with polka-dot ribbons and picnic-perfect hats, purses and bow ties. Owner Alice Underwood motions to come to the back room and have a seat at a yellow formica table of the same vintage as the shopping center. We’re surrounded by shelves filled with card stock and walls the color of jonquil petals. “Our wholesale business was here before,” she says. “We took a wall out and tried to make it more cheerful.”

A store by any other name wouldn’t be so cute: Naming a company or store is serious business. It can require brainstorming sessions. Focus groups. Trademark searches. So Underwood must have spent weeks deliberating before deciding on Daffodils, right? “My daughter told me, ‘You need to name the shop something really cute so people will want to come in.’ ” “Well, what?” Underwood asked. “Ummm … ” her daughter said, then looked out the window at the spring garden full of flowers. “Daffodils!”

Sunrise, sunset: Daffodils the flowers might grow from bulbs, but Daffodils the store sprouts from a business with widely spread roots called Rose Street Design. Daffodils’ back room is full of boxes upon boxes of invitations, announcements and declarations related to every stage of life: birth, christening, bar mitzvah, final college tuition payment, first Derby entry, and so on, until … retirement? Is anyone lucky enough to experience that anymore?

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