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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Florists to the Pope close down shop after 40 years

Sarah Slater and Breda Heffernan

Not many people can claim former US president John F Kennedy, movie legends Grace Kelly, Boris Karloff and Roger Moore, supermodel Naomi Campbell and even Pope John Paul II as customers.

But Dublin sisters Mary and Terry Hewitt of Rosario Florists can.

The sisters pulled down the shutters on their florists in Glasnevin for the last time yesterday after more than four decades in business.

The duo, who marked the milestone with loyal customers, family and friends, are retiring and are considering a number of offers for their business on Prospect Avenue.

"It's been a business that's been very good to us over the years and we have been so lucky as to the people we have been given the opportunity to arrange flowers for whether they are famous or just like the rest of us," said Mary.

The siblings had many celebrity customers down the years and didn't bat an eyelid when asked to make a bouquet for the latest famous face in town.

Star-struck

However, there was one time when Mary was a trainee florist on Dublin's Dawson Street that she was completely star-struck.

"This fella came up in a car with blacked-out windows and said it was for Boris Karloff. I had to ask 'please can I get an autograph'. He rolled down the window and there he was inside," she recalled.

"We received a lot of 'thank you' notes and we've kept many of them."

"We even got a note of thanks from the late Pope John Paul II," she added.

When the sisters started the business in 1969 a dozen red roses cost the equivalent of €3.60 -- these days you would fork out upwards of €50 for the same bouquet.

Mary also recalled that when she opened her shop, bridal bouquets cost the equivalent of €7.50 but now start off at €70.

"Our best-selling flowers were always red roses. We would have sold well over the million mark down through the years," said a teary-eyed Mary.

She added that their prime location was a great help to the business.

"Growing up I always had an interest in flowers and Terry, who is a couple of years younger than me, followed me into the business," said Mary.

"Over all the years, we can honestly say we never had a bad word with one another.

"We will miss this place because it is people and the work we did for them that has made every day different. But we are looking forward to not having to get up so early.

"We just want to say thanks to everyone who allowed us into their lives at happy and sad times," she added.

Irish Independent

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