Dugger’s Florist: For A Marvelous Mother’s Day And More

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Sidney Dugger Haney was eight years old when Dugger’s Florist opened, and now she is 22. The first shop was located in Tanner, and they opened in April of 2011, just three weeks before Mother’s Day. Everyone was scrambling to get through what is one of the biggest holidays of the year in the floral industry, and Sidney wanted to do her part to help. So, she went in the back, found a coffee mug with a smiley face on it, made a fresh arrangement, and brought it out to the front. Someone snapped it right up, paid for it, walked out of the shop as a satisfied customer, and Sidney’s career as a florist was born.

Sidney has continued to help out in the shop — doing everything from washing buckets, sorting flowers, making bows, and of course, learning the details of the trade from her mom, Melinda. Once Sidney was old enough to drive, she helped out with deliveries, and sometimes still does that. There was a time, however, perhaps somewhere between the ages of 14 and 16, when Sidney didn’t want to consider continuing on as an apprentice florist and thought she was headed toward college and another career path. She finished high school, applied to Calhoun, got accepted, and then COVID hit. “Everything was shut down, and I couldn’t go to class, so I started back working at the shop,” she told me.

Sidney isn’t exactly sure what happened that made the floral world attractive again, but she has decided to join her mom full time at Dugger’s Florist, and get officially certified as a florist. Back in 2011, when Melinda was getting her training in Louisiana, she chose a school in that state because it was one of the few places in the nation that required florists to be certified, and Melinda felt they had higher standards and were more professional.

Sidney is looking at going to school in Atlanta to get her certification. I asked her about some of her favorite flowers she enjoys arranging, as well creative options that she uses in arranging. “I like to use non-traditional containers to put arrangements in,” she said. “I like to do tulip arrangements in glass so you can see the bulbs and the roots,” she added. She told me that buckets and boxes are some of the containers she prefers to use. “Some of my favorite flowers are hydrangeas, ranunculus, snapdragons, and stock, which comes in purple, white and pink,” said Sidney.

Melinda mentioned in our BNI meeting on Tuesday morning that one of the things for which they prepare is the fact that many churches will purchase close to 100 single long stem roses or carnations in order to honor the moms of a congregation on Mother’s Day. Years ago, Melinda let me know that traditionally red is used for moms who are still alive, and white are used to honor moms who have passed.

There are several options these days for Mother’s Day arrangements, and the flowers are starting to come in, many arriving from Ecuador. Hydrangeas, tulips, roses, peonies, mixed arrangements—all of them make up the varied selections for this busy season, and you need to get your order in now. Melinda also enjoys stocking the shop with house plants, from plain to exotic. Some of her favorites are ficus trees and fiddle leaf figs, and has scheffleras and palm plants. “We can get just about anything,” she said, and the shop is full of indoor plants and containers.

New to the Dugger’s team is Bailee White, who does customer service, takes orders, and works at the front desk. She spent 15 years in the medical field and came to work at the shop because she was looking to make a career change, and you can tell from the amount of laughter and banter that goes on between Melinda, Sidney, and Bailee that she is a good fit for the store.

Once everyone gets through Mother’s Day, wedding season will be starting, and it is important to get your orders in now so that you can get what you want for your special day. And, if by contrast, you are in “the Dog House,” Melinda has great deals on what are known as “Dog House Flowers.” She told me that they make up close to 30% of their annual product, especially after Valentine’s Day.

I asked Sidney at the end of our time together why I should pick Dugger’s Florist if I am in need of flowers, and she said, “We treat everyone like family, we go above and beyond, and we are personable.” So, call them today to get the best flowers for a marvelous Mother’s Day, and beyond.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner