When Tiny Cunningham first started her flower shop business back in 1979, she did all she could to save money, such as recycling easels for arrangements and using a regular refrigerator until she could afford to purchase a floral cooler. She also invested any profits from the flower shop back into the business, purchasing supplies and equipment to improve the quality of the flower arrangements.
But, her thriftiness is only part of the equation when it comes to the long-lasting success of the business, she said.
"The Lord has helped me greatly. If it hadn't been for Him, the business wouldn't have been as good as it is now," Cunningham said.
Conyers Flower Shop celebrates 30 years of operation this month. While Cunningham works part time at the shop, her two children, Alan Sherrill and Allyson Scoggins, now own the business. Located at 1264 Parker Road, Suite E, Conyers Flower Shop delivers arrangements and other specialty items throughout Rockdale County and even across metro Atlanta with the help of a florist co-op.
"I like flowers and I like people and I like dealing with both," explained Cunningham, who said she often builds personal relationships with her customers, especially those who are ordering flowers for funerals. "I'd get a box of Kleenex out and cry with them because I was just that tenderhearted.
"Flowers bring joy to people. They bring joy on weddings and birthdays. It's a joy on any occasion at all. It lifts their spirits and they know they're loved and at funerals it helps them with their grief to know that someone cares about what they are going through."
Conyers Flower Shop originally operated out of the Salem Gate Shopping Center in the same office as Cunningham's husband's optician office. In 1982, Cunningham's husband, now deceased, closed his business to join her. She designed the flower arrangements and he delivered them. The couple's daughter, Allyson Scoggins, joined them at age 21. Twenty-seven years later, she's still with the business.
"Whenever you stop and think about it, you don't realize how many years have gone by. Meeting so many people is a plus and being able to work with flowers, it's something that makes people happy," Scoggins said. "I've always been able to work with family and we've always gotten along. A lot of people can't say that."
Conyers Flower Shop is a family affair, with the business employing three generations - Cunningham; her two adult children, Scoggins and Sherrill; and Scoggins' daughter and son, as well as Sherrill's two daughters.
Sherrill, who left his job in construction in 2000 to take over the helm from his mother at the flower shop, said being a florist is a rewarding job.
"I enjoy meeting people. I do a lot of the delivering," Sherrill said. "Our slogan is 'Generating smiles for 30 years.' That's what we do."
While summer is a slower time for Conyers Flower Shop, business picks up in the fall and doesn't stop, reaching peaks of activity at Christmas, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, Scoggins said. When holidays aren't in swing, the flower shop stays busy with birthdays, weddings, funerals, hospital deliveries and other special events.
Sherrill said staying in touch with the community is the reason for the Conyers Flower Shop's ability to operate for 30 years while other local businesses have closed their doors.
"We would just like to thank the Conyers area. Without them, we wouldn't be where we are," Sherrill said.
In celebration of its 30-year anniversary, the Conyers Flower Shop will offer special giveaways each Friday in July, starting July 10. People may put their names in a drawing for a free oil change, Braves tickets, a massage and, the grand prize giveaway, a cruise.
Also, sunflowers are the featured flower for July.
Conyers Flower Shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and can be called at 770-483-4925, 1-800-782-9733 or visited online at www.conyersflorist.com.
"The biggest thing is letting the community know that they are appreciated and that the customers are appreciated," Sherrill said.