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September 29, 2012

Shop Talk: Sidney House of Flowers

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The Daily Star

---- — Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Tammy Barnhart of Sidney House of Flowers.

How long have you lived in the area? 

I’ve lived in the area all of my life. I grew up in Sidney.

Tell me about your business.

It is a flower shop. Since I took it over, I have been trying to incorporate more gifts. I carry handmade items from local people, such as Imabella candles, jewelry, and hand painted glassware and different wreaths and swags that I make. 

The flower business does weddings and funerals. There is a funeral home down the street, and we get the majority of funeral work. Also, we deliver around the area — arrangements for birthdays, sympathy and get-well deliveries. I carry a lot of all different kinds of houseplants.

I’ve been here all my life. I know most of the people in this area. We are flexible in working with people in terms of pricing and getting the flowers or other supplies that they need.

How did you get started in this line of work?

My mother has a business upstairs. The previous owner was looking to sell (this business). I worked with the owner for a month and found that I had a knack for it. She taught me what I needed to know. I had always worked outdoors with plants and had done dried floral arrangements. So I decided to give it a try. I’ve had this business for about two and a half years. The shop itself has been in the town for over 50 years.

Where do you see this business in five years?

Hopefully the economy picks up and I’m hoping I can expand to offer more and different crafts and gifts. I would really like this to be more than a flower shop. There are not too many shops in town that offer gifts.

What have you learned from your work?

I’ve learned that it can be somewhat stressful at times, such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. People do order (from me), but they tend to wait until the last minute. But I enjoy it. The people I work with, such as the people I order flowers from, are all just friendly and helpful. Flower people are nice people.

I am trying to put it out there to the public to supply flowers in your offices because they are uplifting. It gives employees something to think about in addition to work. 

I have just had a website designed. People can see the arrangements that I do. The website is www.sidneyhouseofflowers.com.

What is the most challenging part of what you do? 

The most challenging parts are the holidays — getting everything done on time, making sure that I have enough of all the flowers that I will need. I base that on the previous year, but sometimes (the estimate) is off. It’s difficult to gauge what I will need.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

I am in a convenient location. Also, because I have been in this town and worked with the public for 30 years, I pretty much know everyone. That helps a lot.

What advice would you give to someone trying to enter your field of work?

You have got to be willing to really put yourself out there, and when it is busy, you have to be prepared to really live in the shop. You’ve go to be flexible. A lot of my bread and butter is funeral work. If I decide to go away, I will miss that business. Also, you have got to find ways to do something when business is slow. Luckily, I can do some of the crafts to bide my time until I get in business.

The most enjoyable?

The most enjoyable is working with flowers, making floral arrangements and seeing the final product, and when customers for funerals or weddings give me good feedback — especially in the case of a funeral. It’s a sad time, but if people really like the flowers, that is helpful (to them) on a bad day.

What are some advantages as well as drawbacks of doing business in this area?

The advantage is getting to see people. The drawback is that in a small town, there is not a lot of trade going through. People don’t have money to buy flowers unless it is necessary. That hurts a little.

For information about Shop Talk, or to suggest a business, call The Daily Star at 432-1000, ext. 217, or email news@thedailystar.com.

Sidney House of Flowers Tammy Barnhart