Flowers by Hansen
In 1994, Debbie Snyder told her husband that she was going to get a job in a flower shop. She hadn’t worked outside the home since their marriage in 1978, but she grew up in Kalispell and knew the valley’s streets by heart. So Jane Drent, who owned Flowers By Hansen at the time, hired Debbie as a part-time delivery girl. Not long after, Jane invited Debbie to try her hand at flower design.
“I’ve always loved flowers,” Debbie says. She inherited this passion from her mother and grandmother, who both gardened. They grew sweet peas, daisies, and gladiolus flowers in the backyard, which Debbie collected and arranged in her mother’s vases.
“The first thing I [professionally] arranged was probably a rose in a bud vase,” Debbie says, noting that even the smallest arrangements take a careful eye and an artistic touch.
When Jane hired another delivery girl, Debbie began arranging flowers full time. In 2000, Debbie became the shop manager, and one year later she purchased the store. She now employs seven local women, including Randa Froebel, who started working at Hansen’s in January 2015, and Lelani Lutz, who has worked at the shop for over ten years.
“It’s a lot of work,” Lelani says. “But we have fun here.”
Before coming to Hansen’s, Lelani was a stay-at-home mom and artist, and Randa was a schoolteacher who promised herself she would work at a floral shop during retirement.
“It’s a happy, pretty place,” Randa says. Flowers waiting for delivery line the counters, and by the end of the day, colorful clippings are scattered around the floors and tables of the back room.
Flowers by Hansen is a full-service florist. Debbie and her employees prepare flowers for any occasion from destination weddings in Kalispell to spontaneous thinking-of-you gestures.
Although there are big events every weekend during summer, Debbie loves creating “for the everyday. Your daughter has a birthday. Grandma is in the hospital. [You want to say] I love you, good job. Everything to do with flowers is emotional.”
She says that something she loves about Kalispell is that “it’s more hometown. It’s not a resort; it’s not touristy. You can still find beautiful things and there’s a loyal community here.”
Flowers for Hansen has served Kalispell for over 70 years. Its current location sits just across Main Street from the original location, where Carl Hansen first began selling flowers in 1943. Since then, the floral community has flourished.
“There are other florists, and I don’t feel threatened by them. We work together,” Debbie says. “There’s a loyalty between businesses who stay here downtown.”
Debbie is proud of how many new businesses have invested their time and resources here in recent years, and is excited for Kalispell to keep growing.
“Downtown is such a healthy environment,” Debbie says. “It’s a friendly place to be.”