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Family's downtown Geneva shop prides itself on floral arrangements
By Alicia Fabbre | Daily Herald Columnist

Anton and Laurel Engelmann operate Town and Country Gardens in Geneva, which strives to offer unusual flowers.

 

Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/11/2008 12:26 AM

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Anton Engelmann prides himself on the unique.

Walk into his family's downtown Geneva flower shop, Town and Country Gardens, for instance, and you won't find any baby's breath or carnations. But you will find a variety of tropical flowers -- birds of paradise, orchids, ginger and anthurium -- among the arrangements.

That is not to say customers can't have carnations or baby's breath in their arrangements. The shop just doesn't carry them on a regular basis. Engelmann can order those if a customer so requests.

"We try to carry unique, unusual flowers," said Engelmann's mother, Laurel, who helps run the Geneva shop.

She said the shop typically has six varieties of lilies, four or five varieties of orchids and a mix of tropical flowers. This week, the shop had some 20 dozen tulips, many of them of the French variety with large blooms and long stems.

Though Town and Country Gardens only opened about a year ago in downtown Geneva, its history goes back 43 years ago when Anton Engelmann's grandfather, Lorenz, set up shop in Elgin.

Town and Country Gardens made its move to Geneva some five years ago when it opened up in Geneva Commons. The family decided to relocate the shop downtown just over a year ago when the downtown's only florist, Lily of the Valley, closed.

"It's nice to be part of the downtown Geneva community," said Anton Engelmann, who studied ornamental horticulture at the University of Illinois.

The shop in Geneva Commons, for now, remains open only as a gift shop. Eventually the family plans to completely close it.

Anton and others in the family credit the flower shop's success to customer service, hard work and a love for what they do.

"Flowers are one of the nicest things to work with, because you're constantly getting a new or different product," Anton Engelmann said. "There are still flowers that wow me … It's kind of an uplifting environment to work in."

Andy Engelmann, Anton's father, said he enjoys working with customers and prides himself that the shop has built up loyal clients.

"When we do weddings, I tell them we are fair when we marry you because we know that eventually you'll have birthdays and anniversaries," he said. "We want to be your florist for all those events."

So far, that's worked, he said. He points to clients who came to him for their weddings and returned often, then had children who came for their own weddings.

"Every customer is important here and everything they need us to do is important," he said. "We try to do our best to make that happen."

Town and Country Gardens is located at 211 W. State St. in Geneva and at 936 E. Chicago St. in Elgin. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Customers can reach Town and Country Gardens by calling (800) 955-1135 or by visiting www.towncountrygardens.com.