DELL RAPIDS, SD (KELO) – A Dell Rapids High School graduate is finishing her final year of college, while opening her own business in her hometown.
“I always find myself wanting to be surrounded by flowers, happiness,” said Averi Pankonen, owner of the Terry Rose Flower Market.
After working at this store during high school and much of college, Averi Pankonen took over the space in downtown Dell Rapids this summer with his new store, Terry Rose Floral Market.
The 22-year-old took on the task and now ran the only local flower shop in her small town.
“We do weddings, daily arrangements and funerals… We have two funeral homes, as well as the Minnehaha funeral home located here in Dells,” said Pankonen. “We need to have some type of floral business to help supply these other small businesses in town as well.”
“My husband passed away a few months ago and we had a funeral here in town and we went to the florist and they took their time to find exactly what we wanted,” said customer Gloria Mills.
It’s an important service for locals like Mills who are thrilled to see a girl from her hometown take over as the city’s florist.
“She seems to have a lot of ability, knows her flowers, knows what goes together, she’s done a great job,” Mills said.
“The flowers, I can’t keep them on the shelves, and it’s a dream come true,” Pankonen said. “Craving them for my product is more than I could ever ask for.”
While she is always busy making bouquets, she is also building her shop to offer plenty of gift options.
“I benefited from a scholarship-type program for the product that I have on the shelf through a wholesaler called Faire; I sent in a scholarship application and they picked me and helped me get started with the product, ”Pankonen said.
From candy bouquets to candles, balloons and macaroons, she is excited to continue to offer more options, but devotes most of her time to her greatest passion.
“It’s just very calm and cheerful, even when maybe the occasion of the arrangement isn’t necessarily happy, it always brings someone something bright for their day and especially in the world like today we could use all kinds of things I think, “Pankonen said.
And at 22, she’s not just starting and running her own business, Averi is also heading back to school this fall to complete her final year at SDSU. She says the hard work is worth it to give back to a community that has done so much for them.
“It’s been very interesting in terms of the comments, people are like, you’re so young, how do you do that? Pankonen said. “I am truly thrilled to bring my talents to a community that has always kept me safe and watched over me when I went through tough times.”
She is currently working to obtain a license to sell beer and wine in stores so that her customers can purchase a bottle of wine to accompany their gift of flowers.