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Sunday, December 9 News

‘Love and kindness’ goes into every order at Lennie’s

At Lennie’s Flower Shop in New Milford every order is about more than just flowers.

Emotions are affiliated with every occasion, whether it be a party, wedding, baby or bridal shower, birth, anniversary, funeral or birthday, said designer and plant expert Leslie Seybold.

To that end, the full-service flower shop at 14 Elm St. treats each order with care.

“We style (arrangements) the way customers want,” said Lennie Lillis, whose shop marks its 35th anniversary this year. “It’s all custom.”

Stuffed animals, candy, balloons and a variety of other accents can be added to any order. Personalized accessories, such as a fly rod, special ornament or other item, can be added as well.

In addition, fruit and nut baskets are available.

“We are dedicated to serving our community both in this beautiful town of New Milford and surrounding towns,” said designer and store manager Suzanne Koerner.

Koerner noted the quality of the flowers Lennie’s uses and the care staff has when handling them. Upon arrival at the shop, staff carefully inspects the flowers to ensure they are of the highest quality. They are then hand cleaned and hand cut.

“We’re dealing with living creatures,” Koerner said. “We don’t take this lightly. We take care cleaning and freshening the water in the buckets. We are constantly handling (flowers) with love and kindness.”

Rev. Richardson Schell, headmaster and rector at Kent School, said Lennie’s “has been there for many milestones at Kent School, from proms to graduation to birthdays.”

Lennie’s is “always reliable, always has exceptional value, always beautiful,” he said.

In recent years, Lillis has stepped back from designing but still greets customers and receives orders. In addition, she will occasionally cut flowers from her home gardens and bring them in for use at the shop.

In addition to Koerner and Seybold, designer Annette Golembeski, delivery professional Christine Scribner, designer Kim Leonard, designer and flower prep professional Gail Scribner, designer Diane Dailey, part-time designer Elaine Babiyan and part-time delivery professional Rob Weston round out the staff. Combined, the group has more than 150 years of experience working with flowers and in flower shops.

“We take pride in what we do,” said Seybold.

For customers who call the shop to place an order to be delivered out of town or state, Lennie’s staff will call the florist to be sure the order is received and that the customer’s request will be met.

“You’re speaking to someone who knows what you’re going to get,” Koerner said of why customers have remained faithful. “It’s going to be delivered by professionals and handled by professionals from start to finish.”

Carolyn Haglund of New Milford, who with her husband Mark has been a customer for more than 20 years, praised Lennie’s “dependability” and “excellent floral arrangements delivered on time.”

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“When we send flowers from Lennie’s, the recipients always rave about the quality and beauty of the plant or arrangement,” she said. “When you care enough to send flowers to someone, it’s great to know you can depend on Lennie’s to make them feel special.”

Lillis founded the shop in 1983 at 12 Elm St. In 2000, she purchased the house next door at 14 Elm St. and moved her business there, where it has been since.

Her decision to open a flower shop stems from her lifelong love of flowers and plants. From a young age, Lillis was learning about, planting and admiring nature’s bounty in the yard from her mother, the late Helen Marx.

Marx was an active member of the Garden Club of New Milford and began both junior and high school garden clubs within the local civic organization.

Lillis was a teen when she began in the business. She worked at Ruth Chase Flowers in town, learning first under Carlton Chase and later Marian Chase, where she worked for 11 years before opening her own store in town.

A longtime resident of New Milford, Lillis has been active in the community in various capacities. Among them, the garden club, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, and town and civic organizations.

Her business also donates flowers to local organizations, including the New Milford Senior Center for its monthly birthday celebrations and other occasions.

For more information, call Lennie’s Flower Shop, located at 14 Elm St. in New Milford, at 860-354-3903 or visit www.lenniesflowershop.com.

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