NORTH OLMSTED/NORTH RIDGEVILLE
Hale’s Florist and Greenhouses, a family-owned florist shop that served at least four generations of customers, closed on Friday.
The shop had a longtime presence in North Ridgeville before moving to Lorain Road in North Olmsted in 2015.
Owners Jim and Sandra Hale, both 79, are retiring.
“The people who came into the shop through the years weren’t so much our customers as they were our friends,” Sandra Hale said. “There’s a lot of memories of our customers who entrusted us to do their flowers through their happy times and sad times, and for that, we are grateful.”
For six decades, the Hales have provided flowers for occasions in the circle of life – births, high school proms, weddings, Mother’s Day, anniversaries and funerals.
They owned Hale’s Florist and Greenhouses at 33699 Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville for 55 years, but relocated to North Olmsted due to the road widening construction project. A little misty eyed, the congenial couple had been saying goodbye to customers dropping by in recent weeks.
The Hales had reduced prices to clear out inventory and make the closing a little easier with the help of their son, Greg, a professional landscaper. The couple said they are trying to sell the business, but nothing has materialized.
The Hales said they plan to travel and spend more time with their nine grandchildren during their newfound spare time after working in the shop six days a week.
“We won’t know how to act,” Sandra joked about retirement. “We’ve always felt it was important to be here for our customers, and we’ve been here as long as we can. We’ll miss it, that’s for sure.”
Jim Hale’s parents, Ruth and Herb Hale, purchased the shop with two garages used for greenhouses on the southeast corner of Center Ridge and Lear Nagle roads on Mother’s Day, 1960 when it was Van Arsdale Gardens. Ruth Hale used to work for Van Arsdale Gardens, and Jim worked there in high school. A florist and greenhouse business on that corner dated to the early 1900s.
“They were the best ever,” said Bill Comerford,” who has known the Hales for more than 50 years. He and his wife, Regenia, have purchased flowers there for various occasions. They’re good people, and always did a good job.”
The sentiments of Bill Noll, secretary for the North Ridgeville Historical Society, echoed Comerford’s.
“Hale’s has been around forever,” said Bill Noll, secretary of the North Ridgeville Historical Society. Whenever people needed flowers, they went to Hale’s.”
That was the case when Noll was getting ready to marry Vera “Sue” Harles in 1975.
“I got my wedding flowers at Hale’s as a lot of people did,” Noll added. “Hale’s always provided good service, and they took care of people.”
All of the Hale family worked there through the years including Jim’s twin brother, Jerry, and younger sister, Judy. Jim and Sandra’s sons, Dean and Greg, and daughter, Julie, also worked in the shop.
Leading up to the high school prom in North Ridgeville, Hale’s would sell about 100 corsages, and then the Hales would take joy in the onslaught of Mother’s Day orders.
“We would do our best to make our customers happy so they would come back,” Jim Hale said. “We also made a lot of mothers and grandmothers happy. It was a joy to see someone come in with their son and say, ‘I bought a corsage for my high school prom here. Now, I’m bringing my son in here to buy his.’ It was the same way with weddings.”
A native of North Ridgeville (he graduated from North Ridgeville High School in 1960), Jim grew up on his family’s farm along State Route 83 near the water tower, where his family grew vegetables, perennials and spring plants.
Sandra was born in California and her parents moved to North Ridgeville when she was 7.
“North Ridgeville was a farm town then,” Jim Hale said. “A lot has changed.”
When the state took their buildings by eminent domain in 2015, the Hales wanted to stay in North Ridgeville, but couldn’t find a place with a price they could handle.
“It’s definitely a heartful,” Jim Hale said as he made preparations to close the business. “Each day in here was different. We’re ready to retire. From here on out, I know it will be fine.”
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