With Mother’s Day just around the corner, many of us are making plans to send flowers to the moms in our life and spend some quality time with them if we can.
Bryan Lang will be spending the days leading up to Mother’s Day alongside his mother, Karen Stedman Lang, and his grandmother, Irene Saville Stedman, as they prepare and coordinate delivery of hundreds of floral arrangements for local families who want to celebrate the mothers in their life.
Their family-owned shop, Saville’s Country Florist, located in the village of Orchard Park, has been in business for over 60 years. The shop opened in 1952 as an expansion of the family’s farm, spearheaded by Irene’s older brother.
“My oldest brother wanted to start the flower business and we were able to use some of the farmland to grow for the shop,” Irene said. “We had a lot of input into the community with the farm as we needed a lot of labor. Hundreds of local kids have worked for our farm over the years and we still get them coming back in the shop remembering picking strawberries for us when they were growing up.”
After operating in the same location for 55 years, the family decided to retire from the farming business, but Irene wanted to keep the flower shop going. Her daughter, Karen, and her family were ready to help carry on the family business in a new location with her guidance
“When we moved 10 years ago, my mom was not ready to retire at 70 years old,” Karen said. “She wanted to keep working and said ‘I can’t do it without you.’ She’s still here working seven days a week.”
The family found a new home for the shop in a former church building located at 4020 North Buffalo Street in the Village of Orchard Park. The move marked a transition from the old to the new, both in physical space and changes in the business itself.
“The major change was a lot of construction, as we took a building that was originally built in the 1920s as a church and added on to it,” Bryan said. “We revamped it, added on storage, a garage, cooler space, and a greenhouse.”
The family took care to repurpose what they could, capturing pieces of the old site and preserving their legacy in the new location.
“When we were building the addition, we decided to repurpose the trees we had to take down and use them for the walls. The showroom has cherry trees, our fireplace has butternut, and the back workroom has pine,” Bryan said. “My grandma and grandpa had a really neat idea to take the foundation from our old location. We took a jackhammer to the stone and turned it into the fireplace at our new shop.”
With the transition to a new space came an opportunity to overhaul their marketing. The task fell to the youngest member of the business, Bryan, who revamped the shop’s website and social media presence with the help of his father, Ken.
Throughout its history, family has remained the centerpiece for the Saville’s Country Florist, with each generation learning firsthand the lessons of the one prior and adding their own unique skills to grow the operation.
“Now you can see the contributions of the different generations, Bryan said. “From the start, my grandma has built longevity and consistency through her work ethic and wisdom of the flower business. That’s been passed down to my mother who has the same work ethic and understands how to run the day-to-day operations. Now with me being the next generation, I’m working on the technology aspect. Everyone in this business has their own skill set, their own puzzle piece, and bringing it all together it makes us a perfect team.”
Keeping a small, family-owned flower shop running for over 60 years is no small feat, especially while fighting against the proliferation of large order gathering companies whose focus is convenience over quality. This is where Saville’s Country Florist doubles down on close attention to detail, providing full service ordering to their customers with zero outsourcing whatsoever. They handle every step of the process from taking the orders, to designing original arrangements based on the customers’ requests, and delivering the finished product themselves.
“When you’re ordering over the phone through those large order gatherers like 1-800-Flowers, there’s someone sitting in a call center taking your order, so they don’t know what color is available, Bryan said. “We aren’t utilizing any other business to do our orders, so when you shop with us, you know that you’re ordering from a family that’s hands-on from start to finish”
“We know our customers, so we can create what they want very easily. Everything is custom made, unique to their liking,” Irene added. “The person who takes the order makes very specific notes about the design ordered. We have our own delivery people who ensure that orders arrive properly with nothing damaged. An order never leaves our care until it reaches the customer’s hands.”
It’s no surprise that their meticulous perfection of the process has earned the Saville’s Country Florist owners a loyal customer base. And being rooted in family has given them longevity, reinforcing their level of service and building relationships over time. Theirs is a business built by family that focuses on families, sharing many of their customer’s most significant life moments through the flowers they provide. Whether it be flowers for a wedding, a first communion, prom, or anniversary, they find that their customers often stay with them throughout their lifetime.
“From my perspective, it’s fun when a customer comes in and remembers when I was 4 years old, hiding behind the counter scaring people,” Bryan said. “My grandma has people that come in all the time and ask for her specifically because she’s worked with them for over 50 years. They become almost friends and family to us.”
“It’s nice for me being the middle generation,” Karen said. “I get to see my mom every day and my kids got to grow up here. I didn’t have to do daycare or be away from my kids – from a couple weeks old they were here with me growing up. And I’ve never met anyone who works harder than my mother.”
One has to wonder what it’s like to work alongside your family every day in that tight-knit, busy environment. But if you ask Irene, the matriarch of the operation, she’d tell you it brings her joy.
“It’s totally fun, or we wouldn’t be here. We’re not making a fortune, so we have to make it fun,” Irene said. I’m very happy to have my daughter, her husband and my grandson here because they’ll keep the tradition going.”
To learn more about the Saville’s Country Florist and the products they offer, visit savillescountryflorist.com.
Save 10% on your Mother’s Day order by using code: MOM10