It is not very often that a business owner celebrates a 50 year anniversary.
But Gwen Den, owner of Bargo’s Chellowdeen Florist, is one of the lucky ones.
Mrs Den started her floristry business from her home on April 13, 1968.
“It is a blessing that I have had the ability and health to stay in business for 50 years,” she said.
“It is a very special milestone.”
Mrs Den said her first job was for a wedding.
The wedding was on an Easter Saturday in 1968 and no other shops were open but as a new business, Mrs Den took on the job.
The florist said she had been lucky to work with flowers for all those years since.
“I always say that next to babies, flowers are God’s best creation,” she said.
“People buy flowers for the occasions of life whether that is good or bad.
“It is nice that I am able to help people send or receive flowers when they are happy or in need.”
Mrs Den said the key to her business success was going above and beyond for her customers.
“I have always tried to be obliging to people,” she said.
“Because the occasions of life don’t always happen between 9am and 5pm, I need to help people at odd times.”
Mrs Den said Bargo was a small town and over the 50 years she has “known just about everyone”.
“I have given flowers when babies are born, when those children get engaged or married and then when they have their own babies, which is special,” she said.
“Everyone needs flowers at some time in their life so that is how I have gotten to know the locals, business owners, clubs and organisations.”
Mrs Den started the business on her own and over the years she has employed one woman who became her daughter-in-law and about eight other local girls.
She grows her own hydroponic flowers on her property and buys imported flowers.
“Because I live in a country area, I can grow my own flowers,” she said.
“I avoid using pesticides and I only grow what I need.
“It is rewarding to use my own product.”
Deliveries are a big part of Mrs Den’s business. She delivers to Wollondilly and Wingecarribee and her truck has clocked up 1.8 million kilometres.
She has also been an Interflora, which is a flower delivery network, member for 40 years.
“I am very grateful for my customers because I wouldn’t still be in business without them,” she said.
“It is one thing to have a good reputation but you have to uphold it by being loyal and obliging to your customers.”