ROCKINGHAM – Hillside Florist held its first ever fall and Christmas open house Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at its uptown Rockingham location of 216 E. Franklin Street.
Ideas for seasonal and holiday decorating were plentiful. Handcrafted fall and Christmas wreaths were on display, as well as flower arrangements, ornaments, and much more. Also showcased were wedding options, church and cemetery arrangements, and event options.
Finger foods and punch were artfully displayed throughout the shop, much to the enjoyment of Hillside guests.
Chuck Wright, owner of Hillside, stated that the florist has always been too busy for an open house, but was glad to have found time for Tuesday’s event.
“We’ve always seemed to be so busy with other things that we haven’t had time to catch up with the holiday season spirit,” Wright said. “(When I) look around Richmond County and see other people doing different things, I wanted to jump in and do something too; we wanted to do our part for uptown.”
Hillside Florist has been in business since 1974. Wright’s mother, Myrtle Chalk, began the business when Wright was a child, after his father died. She had previously worked two years at Joe’s Florist in Hamlet. Wright said his mother’s favorite place was, “in the front of the store, greeting people.”
Wright’s mother later remarried to John Chalk, a “good man,” until he, too, passed away. She continued to work at the florist until she was 88 years old. Wright noted that Hillside was doing the open house for his mother, too.
Despite the loss of loved ones, the business continues on, and Wright is, “thankful we have some young blood; it helps to have young people involved in the shop.” Wright is quick to note, however, that his more experienced employees play a vital role in the shop’s success.
Wright believes that participating in activities promoting the uptown area and its businesses is important. He wants to see Hillside Florist become involved as well.
Several items were raffled off, including flowers, plants, large arrangements, potted plants, and tree topper bows. Guests did not have to be present to win.
“You don’t ever have to worry about Hillside,” one guest in attendance said. “When I direct weddings, I know I don’t ever have to worry about the flowers; they are always there in plenty of time and there are always a lot of flowers.”
Wright is concerned that people are going to venues these days and more caterers are doing the decorating.
“They’ve taken some of our business away,” Wright noted. “But we still have a lot of caterers that do business with us and they bring in business to us, businesses like Rick’s catering.”
Hillside Florist is a well-established business in which many people in Richmond County have placed their trust for the important times in their lives.
Hours of operation for Hillside Florist are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.