The act of giving flowers to express one’s feelings dates back hundreds of years, and Cassie Hammarmeister, owner and designer at Newport’s Flowers, believes it’s important to keep the tradition alive.
“A gift of flowers engages all senses and it warms the heart knowing that the blooms were chosen specifically for you,” she says. “The same goes for flowers in the home--they bring a sense of joy each time you see them. I feel that especially after the past couple of years, we are more attuned to the simple joys of life.”
Newport’s Flowers has a long history in Cedar Rapids. Grant Newport started the business as a family-run flower farm in 1898, nearly 125 years ago. The family produced beautiful roses, among many other varieties of flowers, and sold them throughout Eastern Iowa. Eventually, the family added a retail flower shop, where many Cedar Rapids residents picked up corsages for proms or floral arrangements for weddings.
Hammarmeister, who recently purchased the business, is proud of the history that preceded her. She also owns Roots in Bloom, a nursery and gift shop located on 10th Street in Marion. “I worked for Newport’s Flowers when I was in floral design school in 2000,” she says. “At that time, it was owned by Judy and Bill Dulin, who purchased the business from the Newport family. I felt a strong connection to the business and the community.”
Plant care is also a big part of Hammarmeister’s business mission. “I love empowering people with knowledge about how to take care of their plant babies,” she says.
Newport’s Flowers, located on Wilson Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids, is offering classes on how to create a Thanksgiving centerpiece in November, and, in December, will offer a wreath-making workshop. The site will also host a magnificent open house for the Christmas holiday, including a showcase of handmade wreaths, centerpieces, floral arrangements, and products from local artisans.
The staff is planning an open house in spring 2022 to celebrate the store’s reopening following building repairs with a focus on spring blooms and floral creations. “Local support allows us to honor the florists and flower growers that were here before us,” says Hammarmeister. “I’m so grateful that I get to continue the legacy they started.”