OHSWEKEN – Leenie Hill puts a lot of hard work in her flower business and you can tell she puts a lot of heart in too.
Owner of Flowers By Leenie, Hill has been around the pretty, multi-colour blossoms for as long as she can remember and has always loved seeing the smile that a delicate flower, or two, or 50 can put on someone’s face.
“I love being a part of someone’s special day,” said Hill. “Whether it’s a wedding, graduation, anniversary or something small — my favourite part of the job is just to be a blessing.”
The shop also does a lot of custom work for funerals.
Hill said she must have gotten her love of flowers from her mother when she was younger. So, having “been in the business” her whole life it was an easy decision to take a course in Floral Design and open up her first shop back in 1995.
“She works hard and definitely works good under pressure” said Rachel Skye, one of Hill’s daughters. “Under super tight deadlines she still puts out great work.”
Flowers By Leenie is a well-established, yet still growing business in the Ohsweken Village Plaza. By the end of March, Hill plans on selling and renting home/bridal decor.
“Things like rugs, pillows, patio sets, lanterns — I want to sell those too,” she said. Hill hopes that she can incorporate her floral designs and custom work into some of those home decor items.
Flowers By Leenie has seen its fair share of rainy days too. In 2007, Hill lost a daughter and needed to take an extended leave of absence from work. Her daughter Sarah, was her “right-hand woman” and did so much for the shop. Losing her made focusing on running the business difficult, but with support from friends and family, Hill and her family got through it together.
“Her favourite flowers were roses,” said Hill. “Purple roses.”
Through her memory and the love of blessing people she shared with her mother, came “Sarah’s Dream”. Sarah’s Dream is what Hill named the outreach program she and her team have been running every Christmas since 2008.
“We help families at Christmastime with gifts,” said Hill. “Some toys for children and other kinds of things for adults.”
It started out as a Secret Santa and nobody knew who the gifts came from, but recently the community learned the gifts came from Flowers By Leenie and so far the outreach has been very well received.
The shop is undergoing some renovations right now. Hill said they are staying open during the makeover, so people can come in as walk-in clients, or to place a custom order (custom orders require at least 24 hours notice), or to sign up for their birthday celebration club.
Signing up for the birthday club means that on your birthday, or very close to it, Flowers By Leenie will personally deliver you flowers, local, at no cost.
“There’s no charge to the individual,” said Hill. “It’s something that we can do to give back to the community.”
Hill loves her family, job and all her customers — yet can’t help but chuckle every time she helps another frantic, forgetful man pick out that perfect bouquet of roses for his wife two hours before suppertime on Valentines Day.
“Oh yea,” she said with a smile. “We get some every year.”