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Getting to know your neighbor: S&N Eileen’s maintains a flowery legacy

FLOWER POWER — S&N Eileen’s is owned and operated by Marian Nunweiler (center) with her daughter, Diane Klingensmith (right) and one employee, Melanie Ploetz. Pictured, the ladies show off their Thanksgiving pumpkin arrangements. Photos by Lizz Schumer.
SPRINGVILLE — S&N Eileen’s Flower Shoppe has been selling flowers, gifts and other items at its Cascade Drive storefront for the past 50 years and owner Marian Nunweiler said she has no plans to stop, any time soon. Nunweiler owns the shop with her daughter, Diane Klingensmith. The store has been in continuous operation since Aug. 12, 1961, when Nunweiler opened the flower shop in her husband’s lawn and garden supplies and lawn mower repair store.

On Dec. 10, 1966, the Nunweilers bought out another local florist and brought in that inventory, which Nunweiler said made for a busy holiday season for her still-growing florist operation.

“I’ll never do that again, as long as I live,” Nunweiler said. “It was so busy and crowded, and so soon before Christmas. We were just going crazy.”

The lawn equipment repair and sharpening continued downstairs from the florist, where Nunweiler and Klingensmith still do arrangements, until Nunweiler’s husband was killed in an automobile accident in 1999.

Klingensmith got involved in the florist shop, at that time, working on the Hospice bouquets for which she and her mother said they are still famous.

Even today, Nunweiler said that S&N Eileen’s is the most popular Western New York florist that provides the bouquets to benefit Hospice, since that shop allows pre-orders for local businesses.

That pre-sale, Klingensmith said, is what keeps S&N Eileen’s in the No. 1 slot.

“We don’t do it for that reason, of course,” she said. “But people can’t always get to us, because of school or work or other obligations, so we try to make it easier for everyone to participate.”

In addition to the Hospice bouquets, S&N Eileen’s participates in other, local fundraisers such as the Springville Pageant of the Bands, for which the shop has been providing flowers, on and off, since its inception.

“Mr. [Gerald] DeLisle approached us about giving one rose for each pageant princess and a bouquet for the queen. We’ve done it for many years,” Nunweiler said.

The florist also offers discounts for events, including homecoming dances, and donates gift cards for auctions at St. Aloysius Regional School and independent benefits held by community members.

STOREFRONT VIEW — S&N Eileen’s is located on the corner of North Cascade Drive and Main Street in the village of Springville, with a drive-up facade.
While S&N Eileen’s’ staff members said they do not try to compete with “big box stores like Tops or Wal-Mart,” they consider their prices and offerings on par with other florists in the area and said that their longevity keeps their customers, whether local or far-flung, loyal.

While Nunweiler and Klingensmith said their biggest holidays are Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, S&N Eileen’s receives orders from all over the world, all year long.

“You don’t need a holiday to send someone flowers or buy them for yourself,” Klingensmith said. “They brighten up a room and are a great air freshener, any time.”

The shop has a selection of accessories for bouquets, as well as candy, stuffed animals, fruit baskets and other gifts, including consignment items and dried flower arrangements.

“Holidays like Father’s Day or after an illness, when you don’t want to send flowers, those are the times when you might pick up one of our gourmet fruit baskets,” Klingensmith explained.

Although the shop still has some walk-in customers, especially what Klingensmith called “last-minute lovers” around Valentine’s and sweetest’s days, most of the bouquet ordering is now done online, with some over the phone, as well, she said.

The florist, which processes long-distance orders through FTD and Teleflora, coordinates with other, local florists to get flowers delivered fresh, regardless of the distance in between.

“Many people send flowers all over the world. Say a customer comes in and wants to send flowers to California. They would look through the books, choose their arrangement, make up the order, and we would choose a florist in the town where it’s going to be delivered to send it out,” Nunweiler explained. “It’s shop-to-shop. There are a lot of rules and regulations [with overseas orders], but we make sure that they are delivered fresh.”

Generally, S&N Eileen’s can process local orders within a day and will deliver within 15 miles of the store.

“Years ago, we used to go out to Java, North Collins and Machias, and we will travel if people are willing to pay more, but, with the price of gas, it just isn’t worth it,” Klingensmith said.

“Around holiday time, order early for the best selection,” she noted. “We get swamped. It’s not like you go to the store and buy clothes. We want it to be fresh and since these are perishable materials, there’s a time constraint. Lots of people wait ‘til the last minute, but we do our best to satisfy our customers.”

When a customer comes in or calls to choose an arrangement, Nunweiler said that she and her daughter try to “feel the customer out” to decide what sort of product is going to be most appropriate. They said they offer seasonal specials, as well as arrangements made specifically for occasions or holidays, as well as dish gardens and green plants, for the green-thumbed.

“We ask if they know the person’s favorite color or flower and show them the selection guide. We try to help them as best as we can,” Nunweiler said, although she added that her customers’ range of knowledge varies widely.

In addition, S&N Eileen’s offers a bouquet of the week club, in which customers receive a punch card to fill in as they purchase a weekly bouquet. Once the card is full, the customer can choose a free bouquet from the cooler. Nunweiler noted that customers do not have to purchase a bouquet every week, but that it is a good way to “treat yourself.

“We are also running a Thanksgiving special: flowers arranged inside a fresh pumpkin,” she added.

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, Klingensmith said that now is “a great time to order your flowers for the holiday. It’s one more thing you can check off your list,” she added.

S&N Eileen’s will also be participating in Springville’s A Very Merry Main Street event, the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The business, which is located at 29 North Cascade Drive, can be reached by calling 592-2828 or visiting www.sneileensflowers.com.

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