Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Larue Barnes

May 13, 2012

Larue Barnes: A cut above

Cleburne florist Steve Talavera’s labor of love is making Mother’s Day and other special days all the more beautiful.


If I had a single rose for every time I think of you, Mother, I could walk forever in my garden.


Florists across our nation are weary today. Americans typically spend $2.6 billion on floral arrangements for Mother’s Day. 

Cleburne’s Steve Talavera at A Little Ben’s was busily arranging flowers when I made my purchase. 

When we sat down to talk, he said, “I named my place A Little Ben’s here at 753 N. Main Street in Cleburne to honor the Ben Franklin’s store where I began my floral designing. Flamingo Bingo, which I also run, is located in the original store building.”

I asked about the many community and charity events where I had seen his work.

“I’ve worked every charity event imaginable,” Talavera said. “Donated time and discounted flowers have brought me so much joy. Using my creative skills to help others is what it is all about to me.”

Gail Hazlewood agreed. 

“Steve is a fabulous man with so much talent,” she said. “He always tries to please. He gives of his time because he really loves people, and he never tries to drive up his prices.”

Nancy Gilliam recalled when Talavera designed and loaned table decorations for a recent ladies’ breakfast for her church at no charge.

When he applied to work in floral design at Ben Franklin’s in 1989, owner Shirley Kandt was cautious, he said.

“She said she wanted to see some arrangements that I could make before she made a decision on hiring me. My first customer was Marilyn Weiss. I made several arrangements for her home. She was so pleased.”

So was Kandt. He had the job — and kept it until the Kandts retired, and he bought the store in 2003 from Robert and Rebecca Roe, his good friends.

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Larue Barnes
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