by Kate Evans
Berkeley Floral is in their 35th year of providing flowers, floral arrangements and gifts for all occasions to the community.
Owner Lynda Bradley said she opened the floral shop with her husband Larry Bradley 35 years ago with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The shop has been in the same building at 160 N. Washington Street in Berkeley Springs all these years.
Lynda Bradley said that Riley Ours owned the building. He gave it to her on a handshake and she rented the building at first for a few years. Bradley bought the building from him on a handshake, too.
Bradley said when she was young that her mother Anna Heironimus always had fresh flowers in her garden, which helped inspire Bradley to open the floral shop.
Bradley’s best friend Helen Mills had also always wanted to own a flower shop, but never did. Bradley told her one day that they were going to own one. Mills passed away around their shop’s tenth anniversary and would be so proud of the shop today.
Bradley’s brother Kenny Heironimus was a big help to her in opening Berkeley Floral. He did all the remodeling that turned the former filling station into a floral shop, Bradley said. Pickle that used to work at Roy’s Service Station used to pump gas there and would always stop in to the shop to visit on his way to work, she noted.
Her dad told her when she opened Berkeley Floral that if “you treat people honest, they’ll treat you honest back,” Bradley said.
“There are a lot of memories here,” Bradley said.
Bradley said they made every kind of floral arrangement when they first opened and did everything themselves. They raised their two daughters Leslie Swink and Buffy Bradley/Harden and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren — Corey, Tyler, Kyle, Cayden, Kellan, Finley and Colson — in the store. It’s four generations now of the family at Berkeley Floral.
“My grandkids have been in the shop since they were born,” Bradley said.
Her daughter Leslie Swink helps with the flower arrangements and her grandson Cayden Swink knows how to add green things in and do floral arrangements. Her mom and dad Anna and Charles Heironimus and her brother Kenny all helped when she got started. They’d sweep the floors as did her daughters and grandkids because the floors got messy.
Bradley said her husband Larry Bradley retired from the West Virginia State Police. He would stop in after his shift and help at the shop. Her husband is in private security now and helps out at holidays. He’s very supportive and makes sure that the house runs smoothly when she’s working at the shop.
Two close friends work with her too at Berkeley Floral — Vic Vesper, who has worked at the shop for 17-18 years and works part-time and Jan McCarthy, who helps from time to time. Her daughter Leslie is there almost every day. Her oldest daughter Buffy works in the corporate office of Homewood Retirement Home in Hagerstown and helps on holidays.
Enjoys the work
Bradley’s favorites are doing floral arrangements for birthdays and weddings, but she enjoys making all kinds of arrangements. The shop also carries some of her brother Kenny’s woodcraft pieces.
Bradley said she’s taken her grandkids on deliveries to the elderly which always brings smiles to their faces. She’s enjoyed watching people coming to the door when you don’t know what kind of day they’ve had and then seeing their smile as you give them flowers.
“Flowers for funerals don’t take the pain away but it helps that people care to send things. It lets them know someone cares about them and they’re not alone at such a sad time,” she noted.
Especially now with the coronavirus it’s sad when they make deliveries and leave them on porches, Bradley said. There’s very little contact when people get floral arrangements or a corsage. You can’t hug them if they’re crying, she noted.
“It’s the saddest part of the job. You tell them to be careful and be safe,” Bradley said.
Met great people
Bradley said that she thanks God every day for her business-it’s what’s pulled her through. Over the past 35 years she’s met a lot of wonderful people through her shop.
“It’s pretty special. I never would’ve gotten to know them if I hadn’t opened the business,” Bradley said.
Bradley has always been amazed that it was all done on a handshake.
“Riley trusted me,” she said of opening their shop.
Berkeley Floral shop hours are 9:00-5:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 9:00-12:00 noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For more information, call 304-258-4498.