(Jan. 18, 2013) Like the old adage goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
And Linda Merryman can’t believe that it has been 40 years since she opened Ocean Greenery.
She will celebrate the anniversary on Saturday, with an open house from noon to 5 p.m. for “refreshments and reminiscing” at the shop on 48th Street.
All are welcome to stop by, Merryman said. Many of her former employees have been invited to the celebration.
Merryman and her friend, Arlene Advocat, opened Ocean Greenery on 31st Street, next to Minit Market, on Jan. 27, 1973. Event though the town was not very populated at the time, approximately 150 people attended the grand opening.
“I always wanted to try my own business,” Merryman said. “Arlene said, ‘What do you want to do? I’ll be your partner.’ She had another store so she knew the ins and outs of getting a business started.”
Merryman’s answer to Advocat’s questions was, “I like plants.”
“Back then, that’s what we sold,” she said. “Plants were a big deal with all the high-rises being built. They wanted plants and I was the only place around to get them.”
About six months after opening, Advocat was expecting a child and left the business. She is currently living in Australia, but will return to the resort for the summer, Merryman said of Advocat, adding “we’re still the best of friends.”
The “plant boom” died off about a year after Ocean Greenery opened so Merryman decided to go into the flower business. She took classes to become familiar with different flowers and design elements.
“It’s a lot of hard work. Only about 20 percent is playing with flowers,” she said.
On April 21, 2003, Merryman moved the business from 31st Street to its current location.
Merryman said the past 40 years have been “amazing.”
“I’ve had so many great people working for me and a great customer base,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of great people and we’ve had an awful lot of fun.”
Merryman said a number of customers have been purchasing flowers from her since she opened. Over the years, she has provided flowers for hundreds of weddings. She has seen couples get married and years later done floral arrangements for their children’s weddings.
She attributes 40 years of business to tenacity and “sticking with things even when you think it’s not a good idea,” as well as the great people who have worked for her and terrific loyal customers, Merryman said.
“Enjoying and having fun with what you’re doing” is also a key to longevity, she said.