BY JACLYN ROSE –
Shawna Ritchie, a Texas native, graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising from the Houston Art and Fashion Institute, just after completing high school. She went on to run a junior sportswear boutique for several years in New Caney, Texas.
Ritchie and her husband, Steve, are high school sweethearts who married 29 years ago. “Steve is a really good guy and we make a really good team, he’s also taught me how important it is to just bite my tongue, that’s how we’ve been married for so long,” said Ritchie with a laugh. They have two children, Shane, a solider in the United States Army and Samantha, a school teacher in central Arkansas, and one charming grandson, Ike. “Life is an adventure and I’ve liked every single phase of raising my children, from infancy to now, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. You know, you are thankful for every day you have with them. And having Ike just brings a whole different joy into our lives,” Ritchie said.
When Shane was young, the Ritchie’s decided that the city was not the best place to raise their children, and moved to Hatton, Arkansas. “My parents are both from the area and we moved to be close to them and to get out of the city. Steve wanted cows and horses so we bought a laying house,” explained Ritchie.
Several years later, Ritchie’s mother, Alice, purchased Di-Mar, a local florist. “Mom and I worked together for several years at Di-Mar, she taught me so much of what I know and that’s where I realized I had a God-given gift for floral arrangements. Years later, after owning a hog farm, in 2009, I purchased Stewman’s Flowers, simply because I knew God wanted me to be here,” Ritchie explained.
Stewman’s Flowers, located at 817 Mena Street, is a full service florist. Ritchie specializes in weddings, funerals and party planning. She has a wide variety of home décor, with a wonderful selection of gorgeous and unique gifts, silk arrangements and wreaths and can make a stunning fresh floral arrangement for any occasion. A huge supporter of all of the local schools, Ritchie especially enjoys working with young ladies for prom and homecoming. “I love the kids and I love seeing their excitement at prom and homecoming. I really enjoy the creative part of my job and its fun when people let me do something different. I like it when customers call and say, ‘Shawna just do it, I trust you,’” explained Ritchie. “Working with brides is also one of my favorite parts of my job. I love assisting them and helping contribute to one of the biggest days in their lives.”
Stewman’s Flowers also carries a full line of Pandora compatible jewelry. With features also similar to Oragami Owl, the Zebra and Co. line is a wonderful gift idea for any lady, regardless of age. “We have started necklaces or bracelets for ladies of all ages. Mothers and grandmothers love them and yet they are a fantastic idea for high school or college graduates. To have a piece of jewelry that you can add pieces to, for every special occasion is very neat,” explained Ritchie.
“I am so thankful for the experiences I have been given at Stewman’s Flowers. I have so many wonderful friends who come and contribute and help me during my busy seasons and so many of my customers have become dear friends,” said Ritchie. “I have developed a wide range of trust and friendships with so many wonderful people. These are not superficial friendships but people I can count on, that I know I could call in a time of need and they would be there to help me. I am thankful for the people in Polk County, they are what make this area great, and for my wonderful church, The Crossing, that is so full of good people.”