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Sunnyside Gardens Floral Shop. - VisitingNewEngland

Sunnyside Gardens Continues to Blossom as a Locally-Owned Floral Shop in Hopkinton, Mass.

This long-established, beloved local flower shop delivers premium floral arrangements and gift baskets made with love and a dedication to good old-fashioned customer service
Sunnyside Gardens local florist in Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton.

Article, photos by Eric Hurwitz -- created for
on 11/17/2022. @newenglandinfo

Walking into Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton, Mass. is like finding the prettiest, most vibrant flower in the garden.

This landmark, full service local flower shop has been in business since 1954 and continues to instantly connect with customers when they step through the door. The wonderful old school familiarity, 21st century-relevant seasonal and special occasion floral arrangement and gift basket needs, same day delivery and that special local customer service touch helps gives this modest-sized floral shop a truly big heart and soul.

Sunnyside Gardens sits connected to an old farmhouse where former owner Mary Howard happily lives in semi- retirement. Just a few years ago, Hopkinton native Carrie Hurley White bought Sunnyside Gardens from Mary and has kept the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach intact to this successful, locally-owned flower shop.

Carrie Hurley White, proprietor and Mary Howard, past owner of Sunnyside Gardens flower shop in Hopkinton, Mass.
Carrie Hurley White, proprietor and Mary Howard, past owner of Sunnyside Gardens.

Sunnyside Gardens has spanned the generations in the Hopkinton area like a beloved best friend in times of need -- whether happy or sad.

"Somebody who might have got those prom flowers years ago now comes back for weddings, special occasions or commemorating a loved one," said Carrie.

Mary felt this close-knit community connection many times through the years, as well. As a prime example, she took care of the floral side of Carrie's prom and wedding back in the day.

"We knew her family so we do go back quite a bit," said Mary, of Carrie. "I don't have the energy to do the business anymore so I am glad Carrie is here to handle things. She does a great job."

Vibrant flowers from Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton, Mass.
Vibrant flowers from Sunnyside Gardens.

Carrie owned Garden Gate Florist in Hopkinton many years ago but eventually left the business to spend more meaningful time with her daughters during their formative years. As the girls grew older and Sunnyside Gardens became available, Carrie returned to the floral world as the shop's proprietor.

This all comes to no surprise. Flowers have blossomed and been firmly rooted in Carrie's DNA from virtually the beginning. Carrie's grandfather used to work for Montgomery Rose in Hadley, Mass. Her mom always had flowers in their home. Carrie, to this very day, proudly grows her gardens at home. At Sunnyside Gardens, she constantly finds way to go beyond just the norm in the floral business world.

"This isn't just a job for me," said Carrie.  "You have to love what you do. I became proprietor of Sunnyside Gardens, knowing the opportunities are endless of what directions we can go in."

Carrie, who attended college to earn a criminal justice degree and once worked as a state employee, always seemed to find a way to be planted in the floral world.

"It seems like I always was working at floral shops no matter what I was doing," said Carrie. "Plus, I neeeded the money back then."

Carrie's staff plays a major role in making Sunnyside Gardens so special, as well.

"My staff is fantastic," said Carrie. "They are unbelievably creative, offer great customer service and think outside the box with 25 years experience."

Carrie added that Mary still works part-time in the shop when she can and especially loves to create boxwood trees (more on that shortly).

Customers fully feel Carrie and her staff's boundless enthusiasm, vision and passion for cultivating Sunnyside Gardens as an essential, woman-owned local business.

"Carrie and her team have been wonderful to work with," said Margaret Bartolini Cunningham. "I own a small business and she has provided beautiful and elegant pieces for the salon. Often I use Sunnyside Gardens for gifting floral arrangements to family and friends, always getting continued positive reviews from those receiving. I would certainly recommend Sunnyside for all your floral and gifting needs."

A Walk Around the Shop

Interior of Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton, Mass.
Inside of Sunnyside Gardens.

Sunnyside Gardens checks off all the essential full-service floral shop boxes including delivering premium floral arrangements and gift baskets to "help strengthen relationships, give love and support, and celebrates life's special moments." From birthdays to anniversaries to commemorating a loved one, and every little "Just Because" moment in between, Sunnyside Gardens certainly showcases a budding business. Also, it should be noted that flowers and plants are available as gift items.

Roses at Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton, Mass.
Roses from Sunnyside Gardens.

Carrie goes way beyond checking off all the boxes, however. For example, she wakes up at 3:30 a.m.  twice a week to travel 40 miles to the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea, Mass. where she handpicks "beautiful flowers."

Beautiful flowers from Sunnyside Gardens in Hokinton, Mass.
Beautiful variety of flowers seen at Sunnyside Gardens.

"Mums, greenery, fresh flowers from local growers -- you can't get these delivered," said Carrie. "I have a lot of relations and use them to help give more options for our customers."

Sunnyside Gardens also knows that flowers alone do not make an old-school-meets-modern-day floral shop. She offers many gift items including  soaps, candles, chocolates, pie candles, giftware and cards.

Gifts from Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton MA.
Variety of gifts from Sunnyside Gardens.

"We are trying to preserve the past with its charm and character but also looking at the current and next generation with the soaps, chocolates, pies, candles," said Carrie. "We are also more on social media now as a way to reach out."

Gif area at Sunnyside Gardens floral shop in Hopkinton, Mass.
Gift area at Sunnyside Gardens.

A standout item: boxwood trees for the holidays, lovingly created by hand and imagination. It's like instantly falling in love when first seeing one of these creations.

Boxwood tree from Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton, Mass.
Boxwood tree

"Mary loves to make boxwood trees so she's always down here during the holidays," said Carrie.

Seasonal items drive and thrive this special local business. Thanksgiving brings centerpieces, cornucopias and special arrangements for tables. Christmas features the aforementioned boxwood trees, poinsettias, Christmas centerpieces, cactus's, amaryllis, cyclamen and wreaths. Valentine's Day offers roses, fresh-cut flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, soaps, candles and pie candles.

Valentine's Day Flowers from Sunnyside Gardens in Hopkinton, Mass.
Perfect for Valentine's Day.

Easter hops along with lilies, tulip bulbs, hyacinths, daffodil plants, cute bunnies, eggs and spring centerpieces. Mother's Day gifts with fresh-cut flowers, colorful bouquets, hydrangeas, roses, geraniums and more.

While Sunnyside Gardens prime customer base resides in Hopkinton, they also service Medway, Framingham, Milford, Holliston, Upton, Southborough, Ashland, Natick, Franklin, Westborough, Grafton and Hopedale. They can also wire out nationwide!

Where it all Began

Frank "Bud" and Mary Howard opened Sunnyside Gardens in 1954 when New England served as one of the largest growers of carnations in the country. When carnation distribution eventually moved to Central and South America, Frank and Mary transitioned Sunnyside Gardens to becoming more of a general yet exceptional floral shop. When Frank became ill, Mary took over until retirement in the late 1980s. That's when daughter Mary -- who previous worked in the Department of Youth Services -- changed careers and took over the shop.

Sunnyside Gardens continued despite other local floral shops closing, bad economies, rising gas and heating oil prices, inconsistent New England weather and other small business and societal roadblocks.

"Lots of shops closed but being raised by depression-era parents, I was able to save some money when things got tough," said Mary.

No doubt, the world has changed a lot since Mary's parents opened shop. Hopkinton's population stood at about 3,000 with many working farms in the area. Now Hopkinton's population stands at almost 17,000. Residential and commercial development have taken over the working farms.

Sunnyside Gardens has adjusted to global, national and local changes but two things have remained constant -- that is, the local small-business-to-customer relations and the ability to sell floral (and now gift) items that satisfy the buyer -- and then some.

"We did well and now the store is in good hands with Carrie," said Mary, in a modest and humble tone.


Sunflowers from Sunnyside Gardens floral shop in Hopkinton, Mass.
Sunflowers from Sunnyside Gardens.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated “Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities in the world.”

Timeless truth, indeed, and words expressed without, ironically, flowery language. In a world of growing utilities, the industrial and commercial nature of our society cannot compare to the simple, continuous blossoming of flowers. Passionate messengers of Mother Nature's beauty like Sunnyside Gardens brighten our worlds through the magic of flowers. Plus, a most gifted variety of gift items for sale helps enhance the value of the customer's shopping experience even more.

With that said, Sunnyside Gardens, ultimately, come across as a local small business soul mate. Like that old saying "Make new friends but keep the old," Carrie and crew embrace the strong community ties that bind going back several generations while continuing to service new customers, as well, within an expanded geographic region. It's like a Hallmark movie come to life with a small town local girl taking over a beloved local business and finding ways to make it succeed out of love for community, tradition and the belief in the power of small business.

Seasonal ambiance at Sunnyside Gardens flower shop in Hopkinton, Mass.
Seasonal ambiance at Sunnyside Gardens.

From old-fashioned word-of-mouth to modern, ambitious social media outreach, the future for Sunnyside Gardens continues to sprout no matter what time of the season.

"For special occasions or 'just because,' we always try to make things more special and always strive to go the extra mile," said Carrie. "That's what small business is all about. Mary's parents started it all, Mary continued it so well and we are carrying on that great tradition while finding ways to make the business even better."

Sunnyside Gardens is located at 161 Hayden Rowe St., Hopkinton, MA. Tel. 508-435-3631.
Web Site:
Instagram: @sunnyside_gardens 

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