Birmingham Flower Shop News
Small Business Spotlight: E. Stephen Hein - www.smileypete.comSunday, February 28, 2021
When he opened shop in 1987, he was asked to handle floral arrangements for such charitable events as the Lexington Ball, the Steeplechase Ball in Cincinnati and Beaux Arts Krewe Ball in Birmingham. In more recent years, his work has been seen at the annual Fabby Abbey Ball, a benefit for KET held at Spindletop Hall.
Hein first came to Lexington in 1961 from his home state of Indiana. While attending Evansville College (before it became the University of Evansville) in the late ’50s, he got an offer to become an ice skating instructor in Terre Haute, Indiana. Then he was hired by Crystal Ice Palace, located in Lexington’s new Gardenside Shopping Center, in 1961. The developers of the center, Pierson-Trapp Co., operated the outdoor skating facility in winter and had a swim club called Cabana Club during the summertime, both of which closed around 1964.
Those same developers invited Hein to join as a managing partner in the Villager Gift Shop, he said. For several years, Hein ran the retail store: a bridal registry shop with gifts, antiques, an art gallery and framing department. The Villager Gift Shop was advertised in national magazines like House & Garden and House Beautiful, and gave Hein his first experience buying beautiful silk flowers, which had become available to the gift market “just after the horrible episode of awful plastic flowers for homes,” he recalled. By the time he changed the name of the shop to E. Stephen Hein, Inc., customers were coming in requesting silk flower arrangements en masse.
“I had to do an arrangement like I knew what I was doing,” Hein said with a laugh, recalling his early foray into floral arranging.
Over the next two decades, the gift shop in Gardenside closed and Hein became involved with a couple of other businesses and jobs, including a stint at W.P. Pemberton & Sons Greenhouses.
“I didn’t know what was going on with that shop, but I thought I wouldn’t mind going in to learn the flower shop business,” he said. It turned out that they were looking for a manager. Building off his experience with silk flower arrangements, he soon learned how to work with natural flowers and plants, and in 1987, he left Pemberton’s to open his own shop.
Today, Hein’s floral shop has turned into a true family affair, with his granddaughter, Kelsey Hein Smith, having worked alongside him since graduating from Eastern Kentucky University in 2017. A floral designer and the store’s social media manager, Smith calls her grandfather PoPo – except during business hours.
“It’s weird to call him Steve,” she admitted.
Thoughtful, artistic expression has always been appreciated in the floral business, and remains a staple of Hein’s business model. While centerpieces and corsages are less common than they were at the start of his business, sending flowers across town – or even across the country – remains a popular action, and Hein can help with both. Some of his loyal clients utilize his services not only for local flower delivery but also to coordinate out-of-state arrangements for funerals or special occasions.
“We know what to say to the other florist, the dos and don’ts of what to use and what not to use,” Hein said, explaining that his clients appreciate his specific aesthetic. His penchant for communicating the specifics of that aesthetic when “calling out” orders to other florists hasn’t gone unnoticed, as the shop has often been lauded for orders that Hein helps coordinate across the country.
Former and fellow florists have also expressed their gratitude to Hein over the years.
“They have told me that when I set up shop in Lexington in 1987, I raised the bar for what florists do to make a show with their flower arrangements,” he said. “I thought that was a very nice compliment.”
E. Stephen Hein Florist is located at 380 E. Second St. More info is available at www.estephenheinflorist.com.
COVID-19 devastated flower shops. Local florists hope Valentine's Day starts resurgence - Hometown LifeSunday, February 28, 2021
That was the case for Bob Kupfer and Tiffany Florist in downtown Birmingham last spring. When he was closed for several weeks when COVID-19 was first detected in Michigan, he was left with a cooler full of flowers that couldn't be sold. So he would take them outside his shop at 784 S. Old Woodward and leave them in a bucket for those taking a walk and looking to get out of the house during quarantine. "When we shut down, every day I would come here and put a bucket of flowers in the street," he said. "There's a ton of people who walk by here every day. We were giving away flowers for a long time."Unknown factorsThat won't be the case in February. Kupfer said he is confident those looking to buy their sweetie some flowers — including the traditional red roses associated with the holiday — will be able to, whether they order a week early or walk in the afternoon of Feb. 14.Still, he said, it's best to order ahead to make sure customers can get exactly what they're looking for, since it's a guessing game this year as to how sales will go."The big unknown is, who's going to be buying for Valentines Day?" Kupfer said. "Do we need 10,000 of something or 1,000 of something?"More: Lottery awaits Golden ticket call from $1 billion Mega Millions winner, teachers or notMore: Many families eager to get back to in-person schooling. See what your district has plannedDonna Podpora, who co-owns Donna & Larry's Flowers in Northville with her husband Larry Podpora, said they are starting to get more clarity about what to expect for Valentine's Day, but there were still plenty of questions in late January as they got their shop at 1063 Novi Road decorated with hearts a stuffed bears."Even the suppliers are saying they don't where they're going to get the flowers from at this point. They've got the orders placed. They don't know what's going to come in," said Donna Podpora, who's owned the shop north of Eight Mile for nearly 37 years. "They don't know what to charge us because they don't know what they're going to have to pay because they don't know what they're going to get. It's just so different."Valentine's Day and Mothers Days are widely considered the two biggest days for giving flowers, and flower shops across the region have prepped since before Christmas. It's a bi... https://www.hometownlife.com/story/money/business/2021/02/03/order-valentines-day-flowers-early-year-florists-say/4226899001/
Norton's Florist giving away flowers at UAB to put smiles on faces - TrussvilletribuneWednesday, October 28, 2020
Norton's Florist giving away flowers on Oct. 21, 2020, as part of an initiative titled "Petal it Forward." Photo: Scott Buttram. From The Tribune staff reportsBIRMINGHAM — A random act of kindness is something we all like to see and on Wednesday, Oct. 21, Norton’s Florist set a great example.The florist gave away flowers outside UAB Hospital. The “Petal it Forward” initiative is meant to put smiles on faces in Birmingham.Owner Gus Pappas asked people walking by to take two bouquets, one for themselves and one for someone else. Pappas and his son, Cameron, do this every year in downtown Birmingham, but they felt like UAB Hospital was the best place to give back this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.The pair asked everyone nearby to social distance and wear masks.You can follow the initiative on Instagram @nortonsflorist and use #MAKEBHAMSMILE to share your experience. https://www.trussvilletribune.com/2020/10/21/nortons-florist-giving-away-flowers-at-uab-to-put-smiles-on-faces/
Here's How to Make Your Fresh-Cut Flowers Last - StyleBlueprintMonday, August 24, 2020
Sarah Marshall, owner and lead florist of Gaia Florals in Birmingham, AL, says, “The quality [of locally purchased flowers] is typically far superior, and the flowers haven’t traveled across the world before they’re in your home.” We’re sold.Pro Tip #2: Check for signs of age and mishandling.When choosing flowers, the first step is checking them for signs of damage. Bruises, yellowed or browning leaves, and crushed or wilted petals are a sign they’ve already been sitting out for an extended period, which dramatically shortens their lifespan in your home. Taking a look at the stems will also offer the best indication of their health since stems and leaves are the first parts of the flower to die. “If they’re already browning or turning yellow when you’re going to purchase them, they will most likely last one or two more days,” says Mattie Bush, owner of Amelia’s Flower Truck in Nashville, TN. “On the other hand, if a flower looks a little sad and droopy, touch the stem and see if it’s sturdy. If the stem is still holding up, the flower will most likely revive once you get it in water and out of direct sunlight.”Greg Campbell, co-owner of Garden District in Memphis, TN, adds, “Take a look at the water in the bucket holding the flowers you are considering. Is it clean and debris free? If not, there’s a pretty good chance the flowers have been around a while.”RELATED: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Flower Arranging We are grateful to all our sp... https://styleblueprint.com/everyday/how-to-make-fresh-cut-flowers-last/
‘The power of flowers’: Alabama’s florists cope with pandemic, recovery - AL.comMonday, August 24, 2020
Alabama. The life events where people expect flowers - hospitalizations, funerals - were suddenly in the news, but the demand for them was all but extinguished.Cameron Pappas at Norton’s Florist in Birmingham said the lockdown, and the reopening that followed, has reminded him of the “power of flowers.”“We’ve had a lot of reminders of how important flowers are to everyone,” he said. “They keep people sane.”The pandemic hit America right in a peak season for florists - the rush before Easter, proms and spring events. Pappas said business began to slowdown by about 40 percent one week before his shop closed for two weeks on March 23. The store laid off all of its employees for that period.Cameron Pappas delivered flowers to Birmingham-area restaurants during the coronavirus shutdown.Thousands of floral businesses around America were left with perishable goods that they couldn’t sell. Just three days before Norton’s closed, it had received a shipment of about $5,000 in flowers. Rather than throw them out, Pappas said, they made bouquets to give away at restaurants and nursing homes that would accept them. In some cases, he hand delivered them.“We wanted the flowers to still do their job, to bring joy to bad situations,” he said. “We wanted them to say that we’re not going to let this virus take away the heart of our city.”Morris, 86, said he was reduced to little better than a one-man operation for about five weeks, with his nephew keeping the books. Most of the business coming in was through funeral homes.Norton’s reopened on April 6, in time for Easter, which he said saw “decent” business. By Mother’s Day, 90 percent of the staff was back, and sales began to pick up. As with other businesses, online sales have surged; up 30 percent over the last two months, he said. Mother’s Day online orders doubled.But with reopening has come new challenges. In May, the World Health... https://www.al.com/business/2020/06/the-power-of-flowers-alabamas-florists-cope-with-pandemic-recovery.html
Longtime owner of Continental Florist dies - Vestavia VoiceSunday, January 17, 2021
Continental Florist Barbara Orr died Wednesday, Sept. 2 at the age of 85.
Orr purchased the popular Rocky Ridge floral business in 1986 and was named the 2004 Florist of the Year by the Alabama State Florists' Association, according to her obituary.
Orr is preceded in death by her husband, Herbert L. Orr; son, John Michael Orr; brother, Gray Garner Jr.; sister, Faye Gardner; father, Edward Gray Garner Sr.; and mother, Tressa Allen Garner.
She is survived by her sons, James Steven Orr and David Garner Orr; daughter, Nancy Orr Athnos; grandchildren, Chelsea Marie Orr and Emily Louise Orr; and sister, Carolyn Bullard.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, September 5, 2020 from 10 a.m. to noon at Currie-Jefferson Funeral Home in Hoover.
‘The power of flowers’: Alabama’s florists cope with pandemic, recovery - AL.comMonday, August 24, 2020
Volume dropped to almost nothing except what I could do,” Morris said.Morris’ experience was much like other industries, but it illustrates the particular challenges felt by florists around Alabama. The life events where people expect flowers - hospitalizations, funerals - were suddenly in the news, but the demand for them was all but extinguished.Cameron Pappas at Norton’s Florist in Birmingham said the lockdown, and the reopening that followed, has reminded him of the “power of flowers.”“We’ve had a lot of reminders of how important flowers are to everyone,” he said. “They keep people sane.”The pandemic hit America right in a peak season for florists - the rush before Easter, proms and spring events. Pappas said business began to slowdown by about 40 percent one week before his shop closed for two weeks on March 23. The store laid off all of its employees for that period.Cameron Pappas delivered flowers to Birmingham-area restaurants during the coronavirus shutdown.Thousands of floral businesses around America were left with perishable goods that they couldn’t sell. Just three days before Norton’s closed, it had received a shipment of about $5,000 in flowers. Rather than throw them out, Pappas said, they made bouquets to give away at restaurants and nursing homes that would accept them. In some cases, he hand delivered them.“We wanted the flowers to still do their job, to bring joy to bad situations,” he said. “We wanted them to say that we’re not going to let this virus take away the heart of our city.”Morris, 86, said he was reduced to little better than a one-man operation for about five weeks, with his nephew keeping the books. Most of the business coming in ... https://www.al.com/business/2020/06/the-power-of-flowers-alabamas-florists-cope-with-pandemic-recovery.html
HER | Local decorator helps get homes ready for holidays - Texarkana GazetteWednesday, December 11, 2019
Marie said, "including four banks, a phone company, some cell phone businesses and lodges at Beaver's Bend."But Oklahoma isn't as far as she is willing to go. "Every July I go to Dauphin Island, Alabama, where I have several clients. They get decor 'refreshers' each summer," she said. "When I go down there I also go deep-sea fishing for Red Snapper, so it's an annual vacation for me."When she isn't decorating for others, she and her husband Jerry reside on the Louisiana side of Caddo Lake where they enjoy entertaining. They are also very active at Trees Baptist Church. They have four children: Tony Campbell of Queen City, Dee Dee Wells and Misty Lutton of Atlanta, and Damon Donnell of Athens, Texas.Marie says she has never gotten too busy to take on more clients."I never turn anyone down," she said. "I just hire more people to do the work. We will do what it takes to make people happy." n... https://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/her/story/2019/dec/03/her-local-decorator-helps-get-homes-ready-holidays/806564/
Wild Honey Flower Truck is Birmingham's florist on wheels - Alabama NewsCenterTuesday, September 10, 2019
It’s an idea that bloomed when Kelsey Sizemore and her husband, Josh, saw similar flower operations outside of Alabama.“We had seen a couple of similar businesses in other cities and we thought it was something that Birmingham would really love,” Kelsey Sizemore said.If you’re going to have a flower truck, it has to start with the truck.“We started by looking at trucks on Craigslist and eBay,” Sizemore said. “We decided on the kind of truck that we liked.”[embedded content]Wild Honey Flower Truck is blooming in Birmingham from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.When they found a potential truck in Ohio, Sizemore sent her father-in-law to check it out. When it earned a thumbs-up, they had the truck towed to Birmingham.“We started the process of really transforming the truck into something that could house the flowers,” she said.That meant a paint job, building out the back to carry flower vases and adding an awning.Next came procuring flowers by working with wholesalers, flower markets and other dealers.With the truck ready and outfitted with flowers, the only decision was where to go to sell them.“We just sought out the places that we really like to go,” Sizemore said.That could mean being outside of the Pizitz building one day and in Woodlawn the next.You can also find Wild Honey Food Truck at the West Homewood Farmer’... https://alabamanewscenter.com/2019/06/28/wild-honey-flower-truck-is-birminghams-florist-on-wheels/