Forty years of flowers

Asheboro woman has designs on customer satisfaction for local shop

ASHEBORO — For many of the big occasions for residents around Randolph County, Bettina Hunter has been a part of those.

Even if she’s not present at a particular function.

But it’s her work in floral design that has provided this form of outreach.

“We see them from when they’re born and all the big moments – the happy moments, the sad moments,” Hunter said of customers at Burge Flower Shop.

Long time employee Bettina Hunter makes an $100 Anniversary flower arrangement at Burge Flower Shop in Asheboro on August 9th, 2021. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

The Asheboro woman completed 40 years of employment at the shop in July – and she’s not ready to let up.

While parts of the job have evolved through the years, the role of making a certain impact hasn’t waned.

Hunter mostly works with fresh flowers, funeral orders and wedding arrangements or just about any situation that requires a special touch.

“She can do anything,” said shop owner Michael Trogdon.

Trogdon, who began working at the shop in 1978 and became the business owner in 1980, has known Hunter since they were classmates.

“She and I went to floral design school together (at what’s now Randolph Community College),” he said. “We’ve been friends for a long time. We’re a small operation so we’re like family. … She jokingly says she has never officially become full time.”

In reality, she’s that and much more. Sometimes the tasks involve coming in early or staying at the shop late.

“I’m glued to the building,” she said with a laugh.

It was called Randolph Technical Institute at the time Hunter attended the two-year school. She took the floral design program – no longer on the course list – and graduated in 1979.

“There’s not young people that are coming into our line of work,” she said of the changes.

For a 3½-year period, Hunter was involved with plants in another manner.

“I worked in a plant nursery and did some landscaping,” she said.

Long time employee Bettina Hunter places a Solidago (goldenrods) in an $100 Anniversary flower arrangement at Burge Flower Shop in Asheboro on August 9th, 2021. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

Then came the opportunity at Burge Flower Shop. The business, which was formed in 1950, now employs about a dozen workers, a mixture of full-time and part-time. The shop is closed Sundays except for special deliveries.

Hunter likes meeting customers and understanding their needs.

“I think what we do in the community, we touch people in a lot of different ways,” she said. “It’s rewarding when they keep coming back to you.”

Hunter, who has two sons living in Asheboro, has become part of the tradition at Burge Flower Shop. Trogdon said the longevity of the connections to the community comes with certain value.

“We do know a lot of people. You remember things you did for people or what color someone’s wedding (theme) was,” Trogdon said. “She makes beautiful things and can create designs quickly. She kind of turns the work out quickly.”

Hunter grew up on the move because of her father’s military job. She graduated from Lejeune High School. A school counselor suggested the junior college in Asheboro, so she gave it a try and basically never left.

Her interest in flowers has allowed her to see all the possibilities in her job.

“The love of flowers is a big part of it,” she said. “That special twinkle that makes you want to be a florist. How many people get to be working with something so beautiful every day?”

Around holidays, there tends to be higher demand. Yet fresh flower arrangements can’t be sent ahead of time, so that means the schedule can be challenging.

“Always a deadline,” she said. “It takes years of doing the job and you learn from your mistakes.”

Along the way, she has gathered insight on all aspects of the business. She even has handled deliveries from time to time.

“I’ve done every job you do in a flower shop,” she said.

Hunter said the tools used in making designs are better than four decades ago. Flowers for Burge Flower Shop come from local growers and from throughout the world, and many are seasonal.

So each work shift that she fills might offer different twists.

“You come in (to the shop) and don’t ever know what the plan is for that day,” she said. “I don’t have any plans to retire anytime soon.”

 

 

 

By Bob Sutton

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