BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Swesey Florist has been a familiar and respected name around the Maumee area for years. The shop, which was located in uptown Maumee at one point, can now be found at Dussel Shops on Toll Gate Drive, providing residents with all of their floral needs.
Shop manager and lead floral designer, Lin Geiman, has been with the company for 25 years. She had floral experience prior to joining the company and has continued to practice and test herself creatively at the shop.
“We’re always up for a challenge and I think the thing that I enjoy most about it is working with people, drawing out what they’re interested in and just trying to make what we do very personal,” Lin said.
At Swesey Florist, customers can find staff who will work professionally to meet their needs and fulfill their wishes. Some of the projects the staff have worked on have included floral arrangements – fresh and silk – natural textured designs, including driftwood and branches, and other unexpected pieces.
“As far as what we do, we enjoy working with the customers; listening to the customers and trying to create what their vision is for things, and we always have tons of ideas if they need them,” Lin said. “We like to do things that are different. This past summer, I did some sculpted cat and dog arrangements – life-size, moss covered.”
Each design – whether it’s a typical vase, an in-depth floral arrangement, a large moss-covered piece or any number of gifts Swesey’s customers can think up – is what makes the job so special, according to Nora Jaegly, who works at the shop.
“You never know – that’s the beauty of it,” Nora said. “Every day is so different. You never know what you’re going to walk into.”
The shop is certainly not lacking in talent or available gifts, either. Covering the space are hundreds of pieces from varying local artists. Customers can find several locally sourced or handmade products in the shop. Lin said the shop first began taking on other vendors approximately seven years ago, beginning with handmade cards. Now, Swesey Florist has expanded to paintings, jewelry, clothes, woodwork and more.
“We had a lady who was doing cards, so we started with her, and then we added a couple more card vendors,” Lin said. “We haven’t really sought out people. They come to us.”
One artist who found them was Leta Coyle. She was walking past the shop one day when she decided her art style might be compatible with Swesey Florist and decided to stop in. Coyle’s art includes various jewelry pieces and paintings. She also creates textile pieces like felted purses.
Kathy Housepian is another artist featured prominently in the shop. Her works include resin pieces, encaustic paintings, illustrated books and painted silk scarves.
“She does pretty much every type of art medium and she writes books,” Lin said. “One of my customers had met her through lunch for something at Charlie’s and walked her right over here and said she needs to be here.”
Housepian is not the only author featured in the shop. Genevieve Kirkbride, who is also an employee, has both of her books, Carmen and Carmen in America, in the shop.
“They’re loosely based on her family and their emigration from Lebanon when she was about 8 years old,” Lin said. “They’re really interesting and timely.”
Betty Jean Jacobson’s watercolors line the walls at Swesey Florist. Much of her artwork focuses on floral design and local scenes. Ruth Summers, a mixed media artist, also has her work up on the walls.
“The thing that I really enjoy with the artists is most of them will come in and rotate,” Lin said. “We never know what they’re bringing, so it’s always kind of exciting for us to see what comes in.”
Several modern and rustic wood creations can be found throughout the shop, too. Travis Geiman provides Swesey Florist with contemporary, live-edge pieces including benches and tables.
The Robarge family uses found wood pieces to create both decorative and usable rustic wood art.
“They’re from Michigan. They scavenge wood and make it into things. They do birdhouses and a lot of rustic style,” Lin said. “They’re going to come in the next month or so and we’ll get furniture for outside, like chairs and things like that. They hold up outside really well.”
While the staff at Swesey Florist isn’t typically out searching for new artists to bring into the store, it is always open to visiting with people who might match their style and fit well amongst their other artists. Bringing in local artists allows the shop to “support local” and also makes it easier for customers to do so as well – something many of them appreciate.
“The customers love it,” Lin said. “I think there is a group of people who prefer to work with the individual or go to local stores and when they come in and they see local art, they definitely get right behind it.”
Additionally, several “Girls Night Out” events are hosted at Swesey Florist. Interested patrons can choose from a range of classes in 2022.
“I do Girls Night Out and people can schedule a class they like,” Lin said. “People get a group of friends and pick a time that works for them.”
Lin offers eight classes, ranging in price from $25.00 to $50.00 per person. Some of the classes involve floral arranging and care while others focus on holiday or seasonal décor options, including several classes on wreaths or centerpieces. Another option for customers is bow-making lessons or even a class on the Victorian language of flowers and tussie-mussies. To find out more about the classes or schedule, those interested can call (419) 891-0404.
“We really appreciate our customers. We really appreciate the person who comes in to buy a single flower or anything else,” Lin said.
Swesey Florist can be found online at davidsweseyflorist.net or by visiting the store at 1643 Toll Gate Dr., Maumee. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Those interested in placing an order can also do so over the phone at (419) 891-0404.