The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

April 5, 2013

Handing over the keys

by HOWARD BALABAN
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — One long-running downtown Medina business welcomed a new owner on Monday.

Mark Merithew, the new man in charge at Apple Blossom Florist, is not entirely new to the area. A resident of Kent, he has lived in a number of places up and down the East Coast, most recently Virginia. He also has direct ties to the area in his sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Reinhard Rogowski. The Rogoskis are the owners of Medina’s Historic Bed and Breakfast.

During his frequent visits to the area, Merithew noticed the sense of community his siblings felt, and he realized it was something he wanted in his life.

“I’ve never felt that kind of sense of community before,” he explained. “Without doing extensive market research sometimes you don’t know what a community wants or needs, but this made sense.”

Merithew recalled how he started talks with the now former owner of Apple Blossom Florist, Lisa Trippensee, over the winter. Trippensee, who owned the business for seven years, is active in a number of community organizations. Perhaps her most rewarding community activity is acting as chair of Medina’s Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration.

However, she was unable to enjoy this past holiday’s festivities. In fact, she became so sick that her doctors essentially told her to stop doing so much.

“I was really torn as to what to do with the business,” she said. “I didn’t want to sell it to somebody who was going to run it into the ground because (former owner) Trudy (Sworts) and I worked hard to build it up.

“I’d built a relationship with my coworkers and customers and I didn’t want to leave.”

Betty Rogowski, who handles the books at Apple Blossom Florist, put Merithew in touch with Trippensee and the two discovered they shared common goals. Among those goals are a strong community presence and a continued strong work ethic.

That work ethic will continue, as Trippensee now becomes the shop’s head designer. That part of the purchase was non-negotiable, Merithew said.

“I know how talented Lisa is and I felt it would have been a shame to see the shop’s doors close,” he said. “I wouldn’t have bought it if she hadn’t agreed to stay on.”

Merithew said the opportunity to purchase Apple Blossom Florist was fate. He noted that moving to the area had been on his mind for about a year and after a few business ventures failed to bring any joy to his life the time finally came. 

“I was ready to be my own boss, and I finally had the resources to do it,” he said.

After his first few weeks in the shop, and first week as owner, Merithew said there is one significant difference between being a corporate employee and only having to answer to himself.

“There’s more structure in the corporate world. Here I don’t think I’ve had the same day in two weeks,” he chuckled.

Merithew said Apple Blossom’s future will honor its past. He said the store will continue having a strong community presence and will look to expand in a variety of ways that he politely declined to detail. 

Trippensee, meanwhile, will also keep herself busy with a few community activities she “can’t say no to.” Among them are the Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration and the care and organization of plants on Main Street and in the Canal Basin.

As for Blossom the cat, the unofficial mascot of Apple Blossom Florist, she will still be hiding in the window or lounging in the shop.

“Blossom is definitely staying, because she’s a huge part of our business, too,” Trippensee said.