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Superman Florist Of The Year: Bob Buettner
Bob Buettner from Paul Buettner Florist Inc. was recently named 2010 Connecticut Florist of the Year, but after our recent conversation, I think he should be titled, Superman Florist of the Year. He has done more in the past year than most people accomplish in 10! Congratulations Bob. No one deserves this honor more than you!
This award is given for more than just being an accomplished florist, it's about all of the contributions made on both a local and state level. Bob is truly a man who goes above and beyond his call of duty.Working as a florist is great, but Bob's true passion is helping others in need. He does an incredible job of merging his two loves.
Bob helps organize a special flowers for kids program in his community, where he shows children how to make bouquets. Each kid gets their own flowers to arrange and by the end of the day, they have their own bouquet to take home. There is also a story that goes along with it about growing flowers. What a great way to get kids interested in plants and flowers!
Bob Buettner also has a big heart for charity. He sponsors a booth at the Connecticut Women's Health and Wellness Expo where this year they helped raise $1,400 in 1Â½ days for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. (Last year they raised $1,200!)
For Christmas, Bob helps his team decorate childrens' hospitals to, as Bob puts it, "bring [the children] a little bit of brightness and cheer."He works with Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Bridgeport Hospital, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, and others. Each hospital gets it's own theme and they decorate multiple floors. Bob says they start planning in August and begin decorating right after Thanksgiving. What an amazing effort to bring joy to the lives of sick children who are stuck in the hospital for Christmas.
In February, Bob helps out at the Connecticut Flower Show. Here, he raises money for charity by doing multiple flower arranging demonstrations through the event.
He also plays a vital role in the North East Floral Expo in March as trade fair chairman. Bob spends much of his time working closely with the Connecticut Florist Association. He is proud to be on their board of directors and is also marketing chairman. Buettner does as much as he can to proactively promote his industry.
Somehow, Bob also finds the time to teach floral design at the Manchester Community College.
"One other project that is dear to my heart," is surprisingly his role as a scuba instructor. For the past 22 years, Bob Buettner has spent his summers teaching scuba lessons to kids with terminal illnesses. These are kids who otherwise would never have the chance to be a part of something like this. It is clear Bob is wholeheartedly dedicated to helping others and is truly an inspiration to us all.
Surprised by his overwhelming selflessness, I asked "When do you have time to be a florist?!" He responded, "There's always time to do new things that are worth while. All of these projects are very worth while. I have a lot of good help behind me. My committees work very hard and we all support each other."
Bob Buettner is a 2nd generation florist who's been in the business for over 50 years. His daughter (3rd gen) is now the shop manager and is slowly taking over his day-to-day practice. He says proudly that she is an excellent designer. When I asked about his family business, he said,"It's nice to have family, because we all work so closely together. Sometimes there's a problem at family dinners. We all start talking about business and things like that. It's a very personal business and we pride ourselves on service."
"I'm 66 years old and people keep asking me, 'When are you going to retire?' I will retire the day I don't want to come to work. I enjoy the business. I keep telling people, 'Grumpy people don't buy flowers.' It's not always a happy situation; obviously we deal with a lot of people that have had death in the family, but we can give them a little peace and a little bit of beauty and know that we have brought a smile into their lives."
The Connecticut Florist Association could not have picked a better choice for the 2010 Florist of the Year. Thanks Bob for being such an inspiration to us all.