Helping to Brighten Lives in Effingham for over Thirty Years
Story By David Pena
We’re in the business of emotions,” explains Stephanie Long, owner and operator of New Life Flowers and Gifts in Rincon, “and since you deal with people’s feelings in my line of work, you tend to get closer to them.” This year the popular floral and gift shop is celebrating its thirty-third year in business. And because it’s the only store of its kind in the area, New Life Flowers and Gifts has had to expand its product lines, which now include Yeti tumblers, Scout Bags and WoodWick candles, just to name a few. “We also started offering bridal registries and baby shower registries, while expanding our baby lines in the process,” she adds.
In addition to offering a wide array of gifts, New Life is also a full-service florist as well. As Stephanie will tell you, flowers have always been in her blood. “I grew up in the floral industry, so I tell folks that I was born in a flower box,” she says with a laugh. For thirty years Long’s mother had her own floral shop in Savannah, but Stephanie was ironically not planning to follow in her mother’s footsteps. “I told everyone I would never do this,” she laughs, “but it’s all I’ve ever known, and I simply love what I do. You have to love it because it involves long hours and working weekends and most holidays, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Long explains that one of the many perks of working in the floral industry is having the opportunity to help her clients celebrate their good times and help to comfort them in times of bereavement. “I really feel like flowers help to provide comfort to people, so that’s why funerals are generally the most fulfilling type of work that we do,” she says. Long-time employee Dawn Usher echoes the sentiment, saying, “It’s the last thing a family can do for their loved one, so it’s something that I’m always proud to be a part of.” Conversely, providing wedding arrangements gives the staff just as much satisfaction, albeit in a different way. “We also do a lot of weddings,” continues Stephanie, “and I always seem to get really close to my brides. I’ve been doing this for so long that I’m actually doing some of their childrens’ weddings as well, so that’s neat.”
Many of Long’s customers have been coming to her for as long as she’s been in business, a fact not lost on her. “I’ve seen so many changes in this community over the years, and we’ve grown right along with it. I love my customers, and I’m pleased to be working with various commercial clients as well. In fact, we specialize in our commercial work. For instance, we’ve been proud to serve Gulfstream for over twenty years.”
With the holidays just around the corner, Long and her team are going to have their annual Christmas Open House in November. During the event, the price of the store’s entire inventory is reduced by twenty percent. “We’ve done this every year because we just love helping people get ready for the holidays. We always have a complete line of ornaments, garlands and wreaths for them to choose from,” Long says. The Open House will be held this year on November 10 from 4 to 8 pm and on November 11 from 10 to 5 pm. “There will be great Christmas music playing throughout the store, and we’ll be serving refreshments and giving out door prizes. The customers really look forward to it, so we invite everyone to come in and begin the holiday season with us. It will be just like a Christmas wonderland at New Life Flowers and Gifts!”