(Left) Dawn Austin, owner of Austin Floral, Hallock, Minn. shows just one of the bouquets that can be purchased for Valentine’s Day. (Right) Jenn Durkee, the flower designer at Nordisk Hemslöjd, Karlstad, Minn. Durkee show one of her floral arrangements that can be purchased for Valentine’s Day. Both shops have lots of floral options and other gifts so you can remember that special someone on Feb. 14. (Enterprise Photos by Linda Andersen)
By Linda Andersen
Valentine’s Day is coming and two experienced and enthusiastic florists are ready to help you “Say It With Flowers.” Dawn Austin owns Austin Floral in Hallock where she also serves as florist. Jennifer (Jenn) Durkee serves as florist at Nordisk Hemslöjd in Karlstad.
Dawn Austin began employment at Montague’s Flower Shop in Crookston in 1976, worked at Bud’s Flowers in Chicago for a couple of years, and then returned to Montague’s as manager. When she and her husband moved to Hallock, she worked part-time at the flower shop in Hallock (under owners Julie Younggren and Sue Hilman) and part-time at the Pembina Gift Shop. In 2005, she bought the shop in Hallock and it became Austin Floral.
What is Dawn’s favorite flower? “I love them all,” she says and then admits some partiality to stock, which is a fragrant, attractive, and yet, little known flower.
She purchases her flowers from “many different places,” but primarily from Len Busch Roses in Plymouth, Minn. She also secures flowers from M.J. Floral in Grand Forks, J.W. Perry’s in Fargo, and North American Floral in Sioux Falls, S.D..
What does Dawn enjoy about her work as a florist? She likes Valentine’s Day! “I enjoy the holiday because it’s more people coming in and more people working. We have a good time.” She says she’s had the same employees for a number of years which helps to make the day go smoothly.
She notes that Valentine’s Day has sort of become a two-day holiday – “The 13th is a pretty big day, too,” she says.
She feels the customers help make Valentine’s Day an enjoyable day, “People are so understanding…Men are very patient waiting. They enjoy visiting with each other.”
“Valentine’s Day is a rose holiday,” Dawn says, “The number one selling item for Valentine’s Day will be roses.” Dawn will definitely be prepared – she has eight hundred roses on order. She explains that Len Busch grows some of their own roses, but many of their roses will be coming from Ecuador.
Dawn and her staff will have sample rose bouquets and mixed flower bouquets in a cooler up front. Duplicates of those bouquets will be ready in back.
What advice can Dawn offer customers? She says to order flowers early, add fresh water to bouquets, and re-cut rose stems after a few days.
Dawn is hoping for nice weather around February 14th. “Things get more complicated if it gets cold,” she says, adding that she sometimes has to meet a truck in Thief River Falls if the weather is too frigid.
Jenn Durkee was trained on a government program almost 35 years ago at Princeton Floral. She later worked at Elk River Floral, 3 Keys Floral in Fargo, and owned her own business, ‘Flowers by Jennifer.’ In addition, she’s “done weddings and other special occasions for friends and family through the years.”
Today she works part-time as the preschool teacher for Marshall County Central Schools at Viking Elementary School and has arranged flowers at Nordisk Hemslöjd for two and one-half years.
Nordisk Hemslöjd also purchases their flowers from Len Busch. Jenn has this to say about the supplier: “My brother-in-law used to work for Len Busch about 30 years ago when they were a much smaller operation. Now they have 15 acres of greenhouse in Plymouth, Minn. They also source flowers from around the world.”
She says a small lily, the alstroemeria, is her favorite flower. “It is the flower of friendship and comes in many colors,” she explains.
Her favorite part of being a florist is “choosing the flowers and putting them in a variety of arrangements…I also like the opportunity to speak to the customers and get a feel for what they would like to order.”
Does Jenn have any suggestions for Valentine’s Day gift giving besides the obvious roses? “Besides roses for Valentine’s Day, I would recommend a mixed arrangement, perhaps with stargazer lilies, alstroemeria and roses.”
What advice does she offer to Valentine’s Day shoppers? “I think flowers are the obvious choice for Valentine’s Day! If your budget allows, go big! But, if not, just a single flower or a wrapped bouquet will still say, ‘I love you.’ Be sure and keep flowers wrapped well when transporting them outside in the cold.”
What changes has Jenn seen in the floral business over the years? “For many years, we used wedding bouquet holders, and now bridal bouquets are usually hand-tied. Silk wedding and prom flowers had kind of gone out of vogue for some time, but are now making a comeback.”
Jenn is pleased that customers today don’t just buy flowers for special events. “I think flowers should be enjoyed all year long and not just on special occasions,” she says, “Even though I work with flowers, I don’t think I’ll ever stop enjoying them; they’re such a beautiful expression of God’s creativity.”
Both Austin Flowers and Nordisk Hemslöjd sell a variety of other items, besides flowers, for Valentine gift giving, such as balloons, plants, candy, and plush animals.
Both shops deliver in their local communities and surrounding areas.
Say it with flowers this Valentine’s Day! Contact Dawn Austin at 843-2848 or Jennifer Durkee at 436 – 4500.