On a recent visit to Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton, we caught up with owner Carrie Hurley White and her mother, Carol Hurley. The two were busy working through the rush of prom, weekend weddings and a solitary funeral. As she has done for years, Carol drops in to help her daughter during the busy times – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and of course, Mother’s Day. She is her daughter’s biggest supporter.
The shop, located at 161 Hayden Rowe Street, is in full bloom. Hurley White is known for her twice-weekly 5:00 AM trips to the Boston Flower Exchange, where she hand picks her stock. “I get there early because I want first crack at the best product,” she said.
Sunnyside Gardens is not Hurley White’s first venture into business. In 1997, Carol, a real estate agent, was working in the Century 21 office at 76 Main Street. In the same building was a small flower shop, and Carol learned that the owner was interested in selling it. So she asked then-23 year old Carrie if she wanted to buy the business. Carrie, who had worked in a flower shop during college, (with a bit of urging from her mother) decided to take the plunge. She sold her car to buy a delivery van and ran Garden Gate Florist for more than a decade, only stepping down to stay home with her daughters, Cassie and Veronica.
A few years later a chance encounter at Saint John’s church brought Carrie back in to business. Mary, the owner of Sunnyside Gardens wanted to sell, and a friend urged Carrie to consider purchasing it. Carrie was reluctant, but promised to think it over. Carrie and Mary, who had been friends for years, had several conversations, ultimately deciding to work together, and eventually agreeing that Carrie would assume ownership of Sunnyside Gardens.
Mother’s Day is very special for Carol. “My children were always so thoughtful,” she said. “We get together as a family, usually for brunch. When the kids were little we’d go to Bergson’s 1790 House on Route 9, and now since we’re down at the Cape we enjoy Dan’l Webster in Sandwich. I feel fortunate to have a family that loves to spend time together.”
“We are Polish, so we love to eat,” added Carrie, with a laugh.
According to Carrie, the trend for Mother’s Day this year is “Simple Elegance”. Hydrangeas are the number one seller, in square, compact vases. “These make an excellent gift because they last so long,” she said.
When asked how she discovered she had a talent for the art of flower arrangement Carrie demures. “I think God gives everyone a gift,” she said. “This is the one He gave me. And I was blessed to be around strong women like my mother and grandmother who had impeccable taste.”