DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (KELO) — A Dell Rapids High school graduate is wrapping her final year of college, all while opening her own business in her hometown.
“Finding myself always wanting to be around flowers, happiness,” Terry Rose Floral Market owner Averi Pankonen said.
After working in this shop through high school and much of college, Averi Pankonen took over the space in downtown Dell Rapids this summer with her new store, Terry Rose Floral Market.
“I grew up with there always being a flower shop here,” Pankonen said. “The potential of maybe not having a flower shop here, there is no one that really delivers in this area.”
So the 22-year-old took on the task, now running the only local flower shop in her small town.
“We do weddings, everyday arrangements and funerals… We have two funeral homes and then also the Minnehaha funeral home located here in dells,” Pankonen said. “It is a necessity that we have some type of floral business to help supply those other small businesses in town as well.”
“My husband died a couple months ago and we had a funeral here in town and we went into the flower shop and they took their time finding exactly what we wanted,” Customer Gloria Mills said.
It’s an important service for locals like Mills who are thrilled to see a hometown girl take over as town florist.
“She seems like she’s got a lot of ability, knows her flowers, knows what goes together, she did a great job,” Mills said.
“The flowers, I can’t keep them on the shelves, and that’s been a dream come true,” Pankonen said. “To have them want my product is more than I could ever ask for.”
While she’s always busy making bouquets, she’s also building her shop to offer lots of gift options.
“I was given a scholarship type of program for the product I have on the shelves through a wholesaler called Faire; I sent in a scholarship application and they picked me and helped me get started with the product,” Pankonen said.
From candy bouquets, to candles, balloons and macaroons, she’s excited to keep offering more options, but spends most of her time on her biggest passion.
“It’s just very calm and cheerful even when maybe the occasion for the arrangement isn’t necessarily happy it’s still bringing someone something bright for their day and especially in world like today, we could use all sorts of that I think,” Pankonen said.
And at 22, she’s not only starting and running her own business, Averi is also going back to school this fall to finish up her final year at SDSU. Hard work she says is well worth it to give back to a community that’s done so much for her.
“That’s been very interesting feedback wise, people are like, you’re so young, how are you doing this?” Pankonen said. “I’m just really excited to bring my talents to a community that has always kept me safe and checked up on me when I’ve been in tough times.”
She is currently working to get licensed to sell beer and wine in the stores so her customers can pick up a bottle of wine to go with their gift of flowers.