Seacoast Florist Prepares to Celebrate Their 25th Anniversary
By Scott E. Kinney, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, April 7, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Atlantic News Photo by Scott E. Kinney]
HAMPTON -- Things continue to come up roses (and carnations and lilies, etc.) for local florist Cindy Willis.
On May 5, Seacoast Florist, owned and operated by Willis, will celebrate its 25th year in the flower-arranging business.
The Rye native spent several years in the floral industry in a number of areas throughout the country before returning to the area and seeing the need for a florist in downtown Hampton. In 1981, Seacoast Florist opened its doors for the first time at 441 Lafayette Road, the current home of Funny Bones Toys.
"I always had a goal of getting out of the business or being on my own," Willis said.
Willis said the Hampton of 1981 is very similar to the Hampton of today.
"We were struggling as a retail area then and we're struggling today," she said.
Despite that struggle, Seacoast Florist has continued to flourish and has since moved to its current 10 Depot Square location.
Among the struggles for Willis' business: the ability to order flowers and gifts on the Internet and the abundance of flowers available at a variety of places including the supermarket. (Seacoast Florist can be found on the Web at www.seacoastflorist.com.)
As for flowers from the gas station or supermarket, the difference, said Willis, between her business and purchasing flowers at the grocery store is that Seacoast Florist offers not only a product, but a service as well. Customers of Seacoast Florist are allowed to hand-select what they want, which they will then deliver, and each arrangement is designed with the specific event in mind, whether it's a sympathy bouquet or a gift for a wife angry with her husband.
"We're helping you for the occasion instead of offering just a bunch of flowers," said Willis.
Willis attributes her businesses longevity to her involvement with the community, especially through the Hampton Chamber of Commerce, which she described as "a tremendously dynamic group of people" who have "accomplished some really incredible things."
She recalled a particular time when she was chairman of the town's Christmas parade. The change in parade route along with some vigorous fund-raising has grown the parade from two bands and a smattering of civic groups to what it is today, one of the largest holiday parades in the area.
"I do believe that my being active in the community afforded me the opportunity to meet a lot of people," said Willis. "They've remained good customers throughout the years."
For your own personalized floral arrangement, call Seacoast Florist at (603) 926-7687.