WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — On Northwood Road in West Palm Beach, Nowlin Flower Shop is known throughout the community. The business has been in the neighborhood since 1934.
“I get a lot feedback from residents of the area who have lived here all their lives, and they say they remember the shop as children coming in with their parents or grandparents,” Robert Bono said.
Bono is not the original owner, however he bought the business and the building in 2003.
“Very proud, it’s a historic area,” he said.
His assortment of flowers and gifts have helped people through some of their toughest times. Now, Bono says that could soon come to an end.
“We’re struggling,” Bono said.
The State Department of Revenue is asking Bono to pay $26,0000 in back sales and use tax.
“Property taxes are separate. We pay our property taxes here,” Bono explained. “I remit my monthly sales tax on my sales here at the business. That’s not an issue here. What they are saying is that they were wanting us to have been charging ourselves rent.”
Bono says he’s never had a tenant and didn’t know he would need to charge himself rent and tax it.
“Every person without exception reacts with disbelief, shock,” he said. “Businesses are not doing extremely well, and as one of our neighbors put it, and we kind of agree with it, we are on life support here.”
Bono said he is hoping to help other small business owners by sharing his story, and he is going to fight to keep his business alive.