Hometown Hero | South Ashland Florist and Greenhouse
For more than 70 years, South Ashland Florist and Greenhouse was a community staple.
But those days came to an end in early August when sisters Mary Gifford and Donna Suttle made the bittersweet decision to close their family business.
"It started last year Valentine's Day," Suttle said. "We kept saying, 'Are you ready to quit?' 'No, are you?' We kinda joke about it."
But friends, family, and longtime customers never thought the day would actually come.
"It started 73 years ago," said Gifford. Dad had just bought this house. He started a pansy patch in the backyard, and people got into it ... he had such a vision."
For weeks after the two sisters announced their plans to close, their shop was busy with guests coming in to say goodbye and thank them for their service to the community through volunteering, or being a part of family events through their work.
"I think their legacy is one of caring," said customer Mark Maynard. "It wasn't business to them. They took it personal. But that's how they stayed in so long."
"If there ever was a term that was hometown, this was hometown," said friend Dicky Martin. "The love they had for not only preparing something, but the love they have for that person, and that event and the love that they have for Ashland."
But the two say that love isn't going anywhere, it will just be focused through volunteer work or other projects.
"I appreciate everybody," Gifford said. "It's been beyond what we could have expected. It's just overwhelming."