WORTHINGTON - From flowers to food, Hy-Vee’s Worthington location offers plenty of wedding-related services for couples preparing to tie the knot.
Sam Sholes, who manages the floral department, has been with Hy-Vee for more than 25 years. Satisfying the bride-to-be is the top priority when working on a wedding, she said.
“It is their (bride’s) wedding, and they can choose what they want as long as the flowers are available,” Sholes said. “Some flowers are only available at certain times of the year, so we offer them suggestions for different flowers if need be. Most brides already have a picture of the what they want when they come to see us; others are unsure and ask for ideas.”
Hy-Vee’s floral department offers a wide variety of services from basic floral arrangements to helping with decorating, doing balloon bouquets, arranging flowers for the cake and tables at the reception and decorating the church - “whatever the bride would like help with, we try to accommodate to their needs or wants,” Sholes added.
Sholes suggests that wedding dates be booked with her department at least six months in advance, though people have also asked to arrange flowers within a month of the big day.
“A list of everyone who is going to be getting flowers is always helpful,” she said. “Organization is the key word, and pictures or ideas of what you want are always helpful.”
It’s not just Sholes who knows her stuff when it comes to flowers at Hy-Vee. Another full-time employee in the department has worked with the store for more than 12 years, while two others have been there for more than 17 and 25 years, respectively.
Sholes, who grew up in Worthington, has had a longtime love for both flowers and fulfilling customers’ needs.
“I got interested in flowers through the FFA program at Worthington High School and when Hy-Vee remodeled and added a flower shop, I became a part-time employee,” she recalled. “Within five years, I became the manager.
“My favorite part of the job is taking care of the customers’ needs and wants. Sometimes our customers give us free range to do what we want, and then creativity kicks in.”
Kim Rogers, the kitchen/catering manager at Hy-Vee for 12 years, agreed that it’s important to provide multiple choices while also being flexible.
“Hy-Vee has options to choose from when planning your wedding to fit any budget,” Rogers explained. “We have a full-service option where we can bring staff to plate and serve your guests a black tie meal.
“We can just add components to a meal you do yourself, such as already prepared salads, sides dishes or entrees, and you fill in the rest,” Rogers continued. “Our most popular option is a wedding buffet. You have the choice of a one-, two- or three-entrée meal that includes a potato, a vegetable and a salad choice.
“Our catering menu is full of options to choose from. Keep in mind these are only suggestions. We would be more than happy to customize a menu to suit your individual taste.”
Rogers also pointed out that Hy-Vee offers a discount when utilizing multiple services at its store. Orders of a full catered meal, wedding cake to serve all guests and flowers for the entire bridal party result in a 10 percent discount, she said.
Rogers has been working in the food business - and in Worthington - for more than three decades.
“I held the same position for 20 years at County Market before they closed,” Rogers said. “Food service is all I know and it’s comfortable, so I've stuck with it. I really enjoy helping our customers make their events special and hopefully stress-free.
“It's fun when a couple whose wedding we catered comes in to order food for a baptism, special birthday party or even graduations - now I'm showing my age! -for their children,” she continued. “You build relationships with people you maybe would never have had contact with otherwise.”
The Worthington Hy-Vee’s bakery offers wedding cakes, sheet cakes, specialty cupcakes, specialty cookies, and other assorted pastry items such as petit fours, cannolis and tarts, explained cake designer Kelsey Bartosh.
“We welcome any ideas that the couple would like to have for their wedding,” Bartosh said. “We are willing to try anything that the bride and groom have in mind. Many bring in multiple photos and have us blend them all together, and the cakes end up being super-unique and personalized to the couple’s taste.”
Bartosh notes that decorators prefer to have four weeks notice on wedding cakes or any of the previously mentioned items. That way, the store can secre all the supplies necessary to complete the request.
Bartosh has been working for Hy-Vee for 12 years, and enjoys her opportunities to create things she hasn’t made before.
“I would have to say that getting to be creative and trying new things on a daily basis is what has kept me interested all this time,” she said. “I honestly don't remember exactly what got me interested, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.”
When it comes to working considering what to order from the bakery for a wedding, Bartosh encourages couples to be bold about what they want.
“Each wedding for us is always different,” she said. “I would just like to stress to any bride and groom that this is your day - get what you like and what you want, and don't worry about what everyone would like.”