Susan’s Florist continues 60-plus years of tradition

| January 20, 2011

Susan's FloristAccording to Juliet Capulet, a rose would still smell sweet even if we gave it another name. By that reasoning, it doesn’t matter that Susan’s Florist, 2731 Preston Highway, has never had a Susan, because it has purveyed beautiful blossoms for more than six decades.

When the original owners, Elmer and Fern Susemichel, opened their shop in the 1940s, they christened it “Susan’s Florist,” believing that name would be easier for customers to remember than their surname. However, Amy Schoenhoff Streeter, who bought the business in 2002, admitted, “I go by “˜Susan’ a lot. The name was so ingrained, we didn’t feel we should change it.”

A Kentucky master florist, Streeter already had more than eight years of experience in planning special events for clients such as Brown-Forman Corp. from the Crescent Hill home she shares with her husband, J. R., and their four children.

“This is very much a family business,” she said. “J. R. is in insurance, but he does our accounting. Stuart, our eldest son, often works here; and for special occasions, all of our kids help make boxes.”

Amy Streeter owns Susan's Florist.

Amy Streeter owns Susan's Florist.

With a staff of 10, Susan’s Florist works frequently with the nearby Embry-Bosse Funeral Home, as well as clients such as Bittners, the Younger Woman’s Club, The Voice-Tribune’s Best Dressed of Louisville, Norton Healthcare and Baptist Hospital East. The shop is making preparations for the Center for Women and Families’ annual gala on Feb. 23.

“We made a 10-foot-tall peacock for last year’s Speed Museum Ball,” Streeter said. “The tail had 300 orchids, and about 300 roses and carnations made a pave for the body. It took several days to assemble, but it was great to step outside of the box and do something a little different.”

In recognition of such skills, Susan’s Florist has been a finalist in Louisville Magazine’s Best of Louisville awards every time the florist category has been listed.

Weddings are, of course, a significant part of the work at Susan’s Florist. In recent years, it has begun assisting budget-conscious couples by allowing them to pick up their flowers, thus avoiding delivery and set-up fees (but Streeter cautioned that “it always takes longer than you anticipate to set up the flowers, so allow several hours”). And if it helps the couple, the shop will put its flowers in vases they bring from home.

Susan's FloristWhen it comes to choosing a bouquet and related flower arrangements, brides are rejecting old rules and creating their own styles. For a recent wedding, Streeter provided an art deco presentation with ginger, feathers and bird of paradise flowers.,  Cascade bouquets, quite popular a decade ago, are back in fashion; and Streeter recently has assisted several brides who selected ’70s-style aqua or teal as their color theme.

Valentine’s Day is always the shop’s biggest one-day event. That morning, Streeter expects to have a showroom full of men.

“It will be organized chaos here because Valentine’s is all or nothing,” she said. “There is a week or so in which people get Christmas flowers, and there’s some flexibility with Mother’s Day, but nobody wants Valentine flowers delivered on Feb. 15.”

While her own taste leans toward tulips, hydrangeas and peonies, she appreciates the significance of all fresh blossoms, and in every season.

“They always come for an occasion, whether it’s a birthday or a funeral, or even a pick-me-up,” she said. “Whatever size or style of arrangement arrives, you always remember the day you got flowers.”

Susan’s Florist is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, visit ,­www.susansflorist.com or call (502) 735-6351.

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