A strong work ethic runs in the family and these women have passed it down through generations. Terra Dildine, the owner of Hemmerly’s Flowers & Gifts since 2015, said her mom started working there at the age of 15 when the store was owned by Trella Romine Hemmerly. In 2000, Terra’s mother bought the shop from the Hemmerly family. Terra also got her first job at the flower shop at age 15, and Terra’s daughter, Hannah, started working for the family business at the magical age of – you guessed it – 15. “The business was started in 1934 on Fairground Street when the Hemmerly family sold gladiolas out of their own backyard,” Terra said. In the 1960s, the shop moved to its current location at 615 East Center Street.
The business has changed because of COVID, but it has certainly not stopped. “When you can’t visit a loved one, sending special flowers through a trusted family-owned business like ours has become a thing again,” said Terra. Years ago, it was common to send flowers for birthdays, anniversaries, and even just for a normal day. Because the pandemic has prevented many people from attending those celebrations, many are returning to the tradition of sending a special fresh bouquet or unique gift. “People look to us to help them share special moments because they’re unable to be there in person now,” Terra stated. Sympathy flowers and planters for funerals are still a mainstay for the flower shop.
Hemmerly’s is a member of Teleflora, FTD, and the Flowershop Network, which provides local residents the opportunity to easily send flowers to almost anywhere in the world (as long as there’s a flower shop in the vicinity). “Being a member of these organizations gives us access to more resources, including special containers, unique flowers, and a distinctive national brand that everyone knows and trusts,” Terra said. One of the best things about the job, Terra said, is helping others to create memories with family and friends.
The shop also carries extensive gifts from Hallmark, which was added in 2018 for a variety of popular gift lines. “We added Hallmark in part because I like a lot of their items, and the products fit with our community’s preferences and traditions,” stated Terra.
Adding the Hallmark line, she said, has brought in a new customer base from outside the area. “For example, the Keepsake® ornaments are collectors’ items, and we often ship them to other states.” The product line has a huge following and something new is always being added. “We took a leap (adding the Hallmark line), and I’ll admit it was scary at first. But it has really taken off!”
Since COVID, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities have changed the way we deliver flowers to residents, said Terra. “We used to take flowers directly to a resident in a nursing home, right into their room,” she said. Now, long-term care communities have set up a safe delivery system that is contactless. “Our community really came together to prevent the spread.”
The company has a total of 7 employees including Terra: 3 full-time and 4 part-time. Terra’s daughter, Hannah, is studying floral design at Ohio State’s ATI in Wooster. A 40+ year employee, Laura Goodwin, is a graduate from the same program.
During holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas, they nearly double the number of employees with “extra help” accommodating the additional business.
“We really enjoy brightening someone’s day, especially when adding that special touch for someone right here in the Marion community. We’re family.” https://hemmerlysflowers.com.