Happenings -February 2007
Grand County High School
Karen Key Braggs,
Class of 1982, is new flower shop owner
by Jeff Richards
Karen and Jim Braggs
Karen Key Braggs, 43, a member of the Grand
County High School Class of 1982, recently realized her dream
of owning her own small business when she and her husband Jim
took over the reins of the flower shop at 29 East Center in Moab.
The newly named Floral Expressions has kept the Braggs family
busy since they took over as owners Jan. 9. Karen has been honing
her skills, applying her previous design training to putting
together both simple and complex floral arrangements. She also
has been busy taking and placing orders over the phone.
Meantime, Jim has been working on the computers and handling
maintenance and deliveries. Both have been redecorating and spiffing
up the shop to their liking.
The business, formerly known as the CC Flower Shop, was started
at that location last year by Cathy Beeman and her daughter Cassy
Swasey. When Beeman decided to sell the business so that she
could devote more time to tending her grandbabies, Karen jumped
at the opportunity.
“It was just something that happened,” says Karen. “[Cathy
and I] just kinda talked about it around Christmas time, and
everything fell into place quickly. A little over two weeks later,
Jim and I were the new owners.”
In addition to flower arrangements of all varieties, the shop
also sells greeting cards, baskets, balloons, and other gift
items for all occasions. The shop has the same phone number it
did before: 259-7088.
Since graduating from GCHS, Karen has worked in a variety of
jobs around Moab, including running a motel for 11 years until
1996. More recently, she has been working for dentist Norman
Barber at Red Rock Dental for the past couple of years. She says
she still tries to go in the dentist’s office and help
out a few hours a week, even though running the flower shop has
been taking up much of her and Jim’s time -- typically
10 or 12 hours a day, six days a week.
“The first few days I was here, we
had two funerals to do, and we were just swamped,” recalls
Karen. But with the help of family members and friends, they
were able to make all of the needed floral arrangements and complete
the orders in time.
Karen has a stepson, Aaron, 31, and two sons,
Tyler, 22, and Kelby 19. All three graduated from GCHS and played
sports for the Red Devils. Kelby (Class of 2006) was a member
of the 2005 2A state championship football team. Tyler and his
wife Chrystal have a 9-month-old baby daughter, Brooklyn, who
Karen and Jim love to spoil.
Karen Key 1982
When asked how fun it is to be a grandmother,
Karen exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, there’s not a word
“Grandkids are the interest you get for having children,” observed
Karen, noting that Brooklyn is the seventh generation in her
family to be born and raised in Moab.
Jim, who recently retired after a 35-year career with the National
Park Service, says he doesn’t mind his new job delivering
flowers at all. “It’s the best job in the world.
Everyone loves getting flowers, so they are always thrilled to
see me coming.”
Jim, a native of New Mexico, first met Karen at the Sportsman’s
Lounge in 1987 and they were married in the fall of 1989. They
lived in a few places around Moab over the years before moving
out to the their current home in southern Spanish Valley in 2004.
The Braggs family has long been avid supporters of Red Devil
sports and activities, including football, wrestling, soccer,
and baseball, which their sons played.
Karen has many fond memories of her days at GCHS. Although she
didn’t play sports, she was involved in the pep band and
various other school activities and served for a time as the
dress code monitor.
“I was the one who would go, ‘Your panties are hanging
out of your skirt, sister,’” recalls Karen, adding
with a laugh, “At least they had them on!”
Some of her more memorable teachers include “Mean Gene” Leonard,
who still attends nearly every Red Devil sports event with his
wife Martha, a longtime elementary school teacher; Al Heaton,
who taught construction and wood shop; social studies teacher
Donna Brownell, who retired in 2005; Val Maughan; Ron Pierce;
and brothers Ray and Ron Olsen (Ron is a current member of the
Grand County Board of Education). She also enjoyed being in Mr.
Obid Hamblin’s class in junior high. “I was his teacher’s
pet, and he still tells me every time he sees me, ‘You
were my favorite,’” notes Karen.
“We had a great class,” says Karen. “We had
a lot of fun.” She stays in touch with a number of her
classmates, many of whom still live in the Moab area. One of
her 1982 classmates was “Mr. GCHS” Todd Beeman, the
husband of former flower shop owner Cathy. Karen, who has helped
spearhead previous Class of ‘82 reunions, said she is looking
forward to helping organize the group’s 25-year reunion
later this summer.
Karen’s own family also has strong ties to Moab and GCHS.
Her parents, Corky and JoAnn Key, still live in Moab, as do her
brothers Kenny and Danny and their families. Her sister Tammy
Taylor, lives on a ranch in nearby Fisher Valley. All four siblings
graduated from GCHS, as have well-established roots in Grand
Although being a florist has been a lot of work, Karen says that
she and Jim are enjoying the new challenge thus far. “We’re
looking forward to serving the Moab area,” adds Karen.