In the center of the town of Clymer, New York, there are plenty of small businesses to be found. One of Clymer’s newest businesses is The Windmill Flowers, Gifts and Chocolates.
When one walks up the front steps and first enters the shop, there is almost an impression of being in the entryway of a church, one of the many uses of the building in the past before it became The Windmill. In the front lobby area one is greeted with the smell of burning candles, with scents ranging from pine to apple cinnamon that continues throughout the entire building, giving a person the sense of relaxation and comfortability in the small store.
Upon entering the store, a person is greeted with displays of items ranging from seasonal to farm themed, and plenty more all around the store, complete with a raised platform in the back of the store that includes a fireplace and armchairs. All of this and the inclusion of quiet background music playing today’s hits works to give a person the feeling of being in exactly hat one would expect a flower and gift shop to be.
Susan Skarzenski, the owner of The Windmill, grew up in the flower shop business, including in a flower store owned by her mother. Her original plan was to take over that flower shop after she graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in interior design, before she ended up as the owner of The Windmill, which first opened as a pop up store during Thanksgiving week 2020.
During this time Skarzenski has had many different experiences in flower shops from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, and she noted how people have their own way of doing things in their own shops. She credits this experience with turning her into the designer that she is now.
At The Windmill, Skarzenski sells arrangements of flowers, gift baskets and chocolates that she fully arranges herself. Along with these, the shop is also home to many different items from other local small businesses. These items include granola, maple syrup, jams, soaps, beach glass jewelry, candles and much more.
But, according to Skarzenski, her main interest in flower shops and why she still continues to run her own to this day is that it makes people happy.
“I just really like to make people happy,” Skarzenski said. “We are always delivering good news, and when we deliver flowers it’s usually about good things and people are always really happy to receive them. I really like the customer service part of it, along with getting to meet new people all the time.”
Along with making flower arrangements that people can order, The Windmill also provides events with opportunities for people to come in and create their own basket arrangements. Recently, for Valentine’s Day, the store hosted the Make a Man basket event as their first big event. The event was catered towards women, who came out to the store to make a basket for their boyfriend or husband. Eight women attended safely following COVID precautions. The event was also done in conjunction with the Clymer Hardware, who provided items such as tools that could be chosen to put into the basket, along with the items that they found in The Windmill. Considering COVID and that the store has just recently opened, Skarzenski referred to the event as a success.
Upcoming events for the store include a make your own Easter arrangement towards the end of March and a wedding event on April 17 where brides can come in and pick out centerpieces and other wedding ideas for rent. Every bride will also receive a bride swag bag.
The Windmill also currently holds a monthly event with the Clymer Library, called Children’s Book of the Month. The library has the book there to take out while the store also sells the book along with something else such as a plush toy to go with it, and a portion of the sales are then donated to the library. Inside The Windmill, the display for this event is one of the largest displays and one of the ones that is easiest to notice the minute that a person enters the store.
Altogether, Skarzenski said the business has been going well since it opened as a pop up store around Thanksgiving, opening as an official store on the first of this year. Putting an emphasis on supporting the local community, Skarzenski said that she hoped her store would continue to be able to draw more people to the area and to the businesses that she includes items from in her store.
“Clymer is a really unique community and the more businesses there are the more the community thrives,” Skarzenski said. “I really hope people will come down and see the things that we have to offer and visit us and the Clymer community as well.”
The Windmill Flowers and Gifts is open from 9:30 to 5:30 from Tuesday to Friday, and 9:30 to 2 on Saturday, while being closed on Sundays and Mondays and is located at 8750 West Main Street in Clymer, NY. When looking for a place for your next flower or gift basket arrangement, or to see items that other local businesses have to offer, The Windmill is the place to go. Stop in and see it for yourself!