ROCHELLE — This past week marked Colonial Flowers and Gifts Owner Naomi Baldwin’s 54th year as a florist working during the week of Mother’s Day.
“It's a lot,” Baldwin said. “I don't think people realize how much goes into it. I've had some of this stuff ordered since the end of February. It comes from all over the world. Most of our roses come from South America. You've got to get that order in. And it's a guessing game. You have to guess what you're going to sell. I do have some history, so that always helps."
Elke Drendel, co-owner of The Cypress House, called Mother’s Day week “quite busy” as her shop tries to fill orders, even if they’re last-minute. Pick-up and delivery are offered.
Drendel called the past week one of the busiest times for a florist as they get orders in and inspect them for top quality before putting them to use to fill customers’ needs. If a customer isn’t sure what to get for their mother, staff work to point them in the right direction. Drendel said the holiday hasn’t changed much over the years on The Cypress House’s end.
"People are still so kind and caring to send flowers to their mothers,” Drendel said. “I don't think that really has changed much. They're very thoughtful. We get our repeat customers over the years and we've gotten a lot of new customers too. We get customers from out of state that can't be with their mothers at this time of year. We're happy to oblige them and get what they need for their moms."
Baldwin remarked that some people are now sending flowers to their mothers on other days besides Sunday to celebrate the holiday, which has made the workload more spread out and easier.
The Colonial Flowers and Gifts owner called Wednesday a “big day” during the week with Thursday and Friday being even bigger workloads with orders, assembly, pickup and deliveries that continue into the weekend.
“It's exciting and kind of fun,” Baldwin said. “Even though it is work, it's part of our DNA I guess. Especially mine."
Drendel said that working such a busy week is just the sacrifice florists are used to making. Once the final deliveries are made Sunday morning, florists are able to take the rest of the day to spend with their own families.
"That's just the sacrifice we make as a business,” Drendel said. “It's bringing joy to the other mothers. As a florist, this is it. This is what we do. This is how we spread joy to other people."
The recent pandemic years brought about a different workflow for Rochelle’s flower shops around Mother’s Day. Drendel said even though The Cypress House shop wasn’t open to the public, it was still one of its busiest times of year.
“The community was so supportive of us and just went the extra mile,” Drendel said. “Yes, it's exhausting for us, but we're making people happy and making people smile."
At Colonial Flowers and Gifts during COVID-19’s more dire times, customers would pick up flowers in the alley behind the downtown business with staff wearing masks.
Drendel said the most enjoyable part of the week is delivering the arrangements to unsuspecting mothers.
"It brings us joy, especially when we deliver and they open up the door and see the beautiful arrangement,” Drendel said. “It's nice to see."
While the week’s work may not be easy, Rochelle’s florists like Drendel and Baldwin get to see the area’s outpouring of support for its mothers.
"I think it's very fulfilling to see people do nice things for their mothers and families,” Baldwin said. “Even talking to the girls when they deliver, almost everybody smiles. Flowers make people smile. They create emotion."