Cheryl (Cheri) Richards has always had a passion for being a florist. She kept that passion her whole life, and has used it to open her own flower shop, Cheri's House of Flowers in Hughesville, PA.
Richards got started in the floral business when she worked as a bookkeeper for a wholesale florist in Bethlehem, PA. During her free time, she would watch the designer do floral arrangements for the shop and learn techniques from him. When the designer passed away, she took over as the designer for that shop.
Throughout the years she moved around lot and took other jobs, but Richards always kept her love for the business. She worked for the owner of House of Flowers when she was in her twenties, and kept in touch with the her. When the owner decided to sell the shop, Richards and her husband, Neil Richards, bought it.
Cheri’s House of Flowers offers a wide variety of gifts for purchase, along with flowers. Shown from left are, Vicki Mingle, Cheryl Richards and Sandy Folk.
Richards made a few changes to the shop when she took over. She changed the name from House of Flowers to Cheri's House of Flowers. She then moved the location from where it had been for about 35 years to it's current location at 231 N. Main St.
"I didn't feel like I had room to grow the business," said Richards, "After being there for 35 years, people still didn't know where we were."
She also decided to use some wire services to increase business, and keeps a wider selection of inventory.
"Our designs have evolved over the years. We carry more of a selection than she (previous owner) did before," said Richards.
The store also has a variety of products for sale that most people do not expect to see in a flower shop. The shop sells: cards,containers, balloons,stuff animals, chocolates and jewelry in addition to flowers.
"It's nice to be a one-stop shop for people when they come in," said Richards.
Holidays are the busiest time at the shop. Valentine's Day is the busiest holiday, followed by Mother's Day, said Richards.
The shop also provides flowers for weddings. Brides are able to sit down and have a consultation to plan flowers for both the ceremony and the reception. Brides are able to bring in ideas of what they want and Richards and her employees work to make the vision a reality. The shop is able to decorate ceilings, curtains, lights and pretty much anything the bride may want.
Richards is a firm believer that sending flowers to a funeral is still a special gesture to remember loved ones who passed away. When you see flowers it shows how much love everyone had for the person who passed, Richards said.
"It just bothers me that so many people don't think its important to send flowers anymore," said Richards, "It gives you comfort to know that someone took the time to send a gesture like that."
In the eyes of most florist it is not about the money, it is about the love of flowers and caring for people. It is almost sad to not see flowers at a funeral, said Richards.
The people who work at Cheri's House of Flowers are people pleasures. Seeing how happy someone gets when they receive flowers from the shop and when they say how beautiful it looks is the most rewarding experience, said Richards.