Karen and Dan Hinson met in high school and went on to run Stagemyer Flower Shop for 43 years. Does he buy her flowers for Valentine’s Day? York Daily Record
Karen Hinson works in a jungle. Flora of all shapes and colors, ranging from eucalyptus, lemon leaf, daisies, orchids and roses, peek out from behind her. Each flora flaunts its natural hues, battling for space in the crowded field of foliage.
Hinson stops what she’s doing and picks up some dragon teeth. Look at this, she says, pulling the flower pedals back, showing the vegetation’s rigid shape before it snaps back like a jaw.
“Guess that’s why they call it dragon teeth,” she said.
Hinson has been a florist for nearly 50 years — a fitting occupation considering her maiden name was Rose. She began her career in high school at Doyle’s Flower Shop in Bedford. It was around the same time she met her husband, Dan.
“We were high school sweethearts, and it went from there,” she said.
In 1976, the pair left their hometown and made haste toward York.
“My brother was living in York at the time, and he convinced me there were a few more opportunities for work out here,” Dan said.
Karen got a florist job at Stagemyer Flower Shop in December of that year. Dan picked up work at Miller’s Auto Supply in West York.
In June of 1977, they purchased the business from Charlotte and Claire Stough. Charlotte’s father opened the flower shop in the first floor of their row home in 1947.
“I had no idea what I was getting into,” Dan said.
At any given moment, Stagemyers has about 75 varieties of flora. Simple bouquets such as a dozen cuenca roses may take Karen about five minutes to design. Larger, more intricate arrangements could take upwards of 25 minutes.
“It’s a physical job, and it is a lost art, but it is an art,” Karen said.
Come Valentine’s Day, the store will be filled to the brim with nearly 5,000 roses, dozens of arrangements, and you can expect a line out the door come Friday, Dan said.
“It is the absolute biggest day we have,” he said. “There are three or four guys that come in every year — it’s like a reunion.”
Over the years, he’s grown accustomed to such frequent customers. It is bittersweet for him and his wife.
Valentine’s Day farewell
After 43 years, the couple is gearing up for what could potentially be their final Valentine’s Day service.
The Hinsons put their North George Street property up for sale nearly a year ago. They’re hoping whoever purchases the property is interested in keeping the business. Dan, 67, and Karen, 66, understand they can’t do it on their own anymore.
“We’ve had customers that we did the weddings for, their children’s and grandchildren’s weddings,” he said. “Now we’re doing their funerals, and that’s tough. We’ve known some them [customers] their whole lives.”
Dan recalled nearly a dozen flower shops around downtown York when they opened. Today, he believes there are only four, including Stagemyers, left.
The couple cited concerns about their age and health as primary concerns for the decision to list the business for sale. The rise of grocery store flower sections and online outlets such as Avas have also hindered the shop’s sales.
For holidays such as Valentine’s Day, over 300 customers will walk through the door. Not including delivery sales, the pair may find themselves in the shop until after 1 a.m. that day.
So, how do the two love birds celebrate?
“I don’t buy her flowers,” Dan said. “We go out to eat. Well, after we had two or three days to rest.”
Hours of operation: Stagemyer Flower Shop
Stagemyer Flower Shop is located at 537 N. George Street. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
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