8 Stony Brook Avenue has been a creative space since the early 1900s. Hupmobile showcased the finest automobiles here. The folks that cared for the Ward Melville properties used the building as their hub. With a product design firm downstairs and a master hair designer next door, Sugar Magnolias has served as the building’s creative anchor for over twenty five years. The building faces south, which means it is sunny and flower loving, and our avenue is residential, so it’s quiet. Sugar Magnolias and all of us at #8 are grateful to be surrounded by many adoring, supportive neighbors!
Heidi Jo Lauber, Owner
Sugar Magnolias is the centerpiece of my existence. My life has revolved around the space and my brides for over twenty five years. From the first day it has been about love and weddings and work that smells delicious. My home is around the corner and my beautiful labradoodle, Leon, sleeps on the cool workspace tile as I put together the designs of a lifetime. My parents live five minutes away, retired in the house I was raised in. My Dad still visits almost daily to fix and support. I’ve watched in wonder as the young girls I employ grow up and have weddings of their own. Now they are beautiful women, some with grown children, others raising their babies right here amidst the boxes of flowers and piles of green stems. I love when I can hear them playing with a discarded flower box on the grassy hill just out the front door..
There is labor, and there is love. We work hard and long. We are true laborers. The flowers are temperamental; they have a short life span that needs prompting and prodding so they will peak, not before, not after, but only on that one day. There is a world market with prices that fluctuate, and summer heat, and there are the trends. My clients are emotional as they begin their march towards married life. They need guidance and corralling and help with prioritizing. There are budgets, venue logistics, and family dynamics. “Spend your money where your guests spend most of their time…”, I say over and over, “…your ideas can be tailored to fit your budget”. I love my couples, their mothers, their families. I love the fathers that sit quietly, so willing to let the wedding wave wash over them. And I love that there is love. I am honored to be a part of that love, never passing up the chance to watch as the vows are finally exchanged.
Flowers have been the way I express myself for over forty years. I have seen the trends come full circle more than once. I have weathered recessions, pandemics and whirlwinds of change. My first job as an eleven year old paid me $2.25 an hour. When I celebrated my opening, the internet was just blooming. I have worked alone and managed a staff of twenty. I can grout a tile floor, cook for an army, and mow my own lawn. But, after a lifetime, flowers are still my first true love.
I began working for Heidi while I was in college, just a few years after she opened her shop in 1997. I had never worked with flowers before, but right away I began learning and loving the beauty and art of what she did. After hundreds and hundreds of events, I still love seeing a bride so excited about her bouquet on her wedding day that she is practically brought to tears. After 20 years it never gets old.
I know that Heidi truly puts her love into every single piece she creates and I am always proud to set up and watch a room come to life with the beautiful arrangements she designs. Over the years the flower shop has seen my joy, my tears, my peace, my sweat, my three children's playful faces, my love and so much more. I am a proud worker bee at Sugar Magnolias! Yes, Heidi is my boss, but over the decades we have become family.
I have worked alongside Heidi from that first September day in 1997. In truth, we were so young, still smoking cigarettes and taking out lunch from the deli every single day. 26 years ago it was trial and error. After many retail years, Heidi had the eye, the creativity and the skills for event design. But the business? The installations and the networking? We were playing in traffic. The internet was infantile, and women owned boutique shops were still what dreams were made of. We figured it out together. As my son got older, I went on to a career in higher education. But I still stop at the studio on my way home to sweep up and see what’s beautiful in the cooler. I love to be onboard for weekend field trips, climbing on archways, placing flowers on a gazebo, or setting up a church alter, so quietly, before a vow exchange.
I sing when I work. I work when I sing. When I am finished at work at the flower shop, I continue the hard work of baking beautiful, delicious breads. I never sit down, I am in perpetual motion. I have been part of the crew at Sugar Magnolias for years. I love that no two days are the same, as floral installations never twin. Every job, every day, every venue is different. And every event brings a new challenge. Weddings are challenging. Flowers are temperamental, So I sing.
I have worked at Sugar Magnolias in many capacities for almost 15 years now, and I am forever amazed that the flowers come to the shop in a box and, days latter, end up a beautiful display. Show me what to do, and I can do it! Drive here, climb the ladder, run to market, decorate a cake, water the centerpieces, run to the bank, I am on it! I am the just-in-case girl! I work part time, but I'm on call 24-7, and I love seeing what goes out the door!
8 Stony Brook Avenue • Stony Brook • New York • 11790