A Blooming Success

Heather Hacker-Hammer poses for a portrait in A to Zinnia’s greenhouse. The green house is open mid-April through August. “It’s usually dependent upon the weather,” Hacker-Hammer said.

NEW ULM — For Heather Hacker-Hammer, a florist at A to Zinnia, working with flowers wasn’t always seeded in her mind.

“When I went to college I was like ‘I am never going to do this ever, ever!’ “ she said. “But then I ended up taking a few horticulture classes and I really liked it.”

Hacker-Hammer said she’s been around horticulture and the flower business her entire life. She credits her parents — who own the greenhouse portion of A to Zinnia — for her interest and career as a florist.

“I’ve always had a passion for flowers and plants,” she said. “It’s just in me. We really enjoy our customers as well.”

Hacker-Hammer graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in Horticulture and Business. She said she’s been a florist for 22 years and has worked at floral shops throughout much of southern Minnesota.

Heather Hacker-Hammer assists Mary Mcclellan, a steady customer, in A to Zinnia’s greenhouse.

She opened A to Zinnia in June 2012. She said she’s watched the business grow over the years to continually offer its services to New Ulm.

She said A to Zinnia plans and creates floral arrangements for all sorts of occasions, including high school proms, weddings, birthdays, newborn babies or an untimely death of a loved one.

“We help people through all facets of their life,” she said. “That’s probably my favorite part is getting to know the customers.”

Hacker-Hammer said working with customers to help them achieve their vision for a special occasion is the most fulfilling aspect of her job as a florist. She said weddings are her favorite events to plan and arrange for.

“It’s really fun to see a whole day come together you’ve been planning for a year,” she said. “We’ll come in the day of and help with their planning up until that point and then we’ll put it all together and make it look beautiful.”

Heather Hacker-Hammer preps purple kale for a flower arrangement in A to Zinnia’s floral arrangement room. Hacker-Hammer said A to Zinnia often works on multiple floral arrangements at the same time.

Hacker-Hammer said A to Zinnia continues to stay involved with community affairs to help promote growth in New Ulm.

“It’s really important for me to be involved in the community,” she said. “It’s always been important to me. My parents were that way as well growing up. You serve the commu nity you’re working in and they’ll serve you.”

Hacker-Hammer is a board member of the Chamber of Commerce and is involved with Small Business Owners Group — a collective of businesses and boutiques in New Ulm.

“We formed together to help promote shopping in New Ulm,” she said. “This year we’re starting to focus on our local customers to remind them to shop local.”

Hacker-Hammer is also involved with Milford 4H and plays softball in Essex. She said her family’s hobby farm outside of New Ulm keeps her busy as well.

A to Zinnia opened a second location in Sleepy Eye in 2016. Hacker-Hammer said New Ulm’s sister business in Sleepy Eye continues to serve the community on a daly basis.

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