Jeanette Bush's parents opened Bush Flower Shop in North Augusta 81 years ago, having no idea of the deep relationship that would blossom between their daughter and her hometown.
"The only thing I ever wanted was to follow in my mother's footsteps and be known as 'The Flower Lady,"' Ms. Bush said. "There are generations of family and friends that have supported us over the years, and we hope we'll be there for the coming generations as well."
Ms. Bush was named Small Business Person of the Year by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. The 75-year-old worked in her parents' shop as a child in the 1930s, became a full-time employee after graduating from Augusta College in the '40s and took over in 1961.
She learned to make arrangements at her mother's side. The house they lived in was next door to the shop, and most of her childhood was spent "bouncing between the two," she said.
"I love what I do and I've got a pretty good background with my momma," she said. "She'd put one flower in and I'd put one flower in and that's the way we'd do it. I learned by doing."
Tracy Hooks, the owner of CommuniGraphics and a member of the award panel, said Ms. Bush's longevity and community involvement won over the judges.
"For any small business to survive for 80 years is an accomplishment in itself," she said. "The other big issue was her community service. She just gives and gives and gives - and she does it without being asked."
Reach John Bankston at (706) 823-3352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.