Her name is Evelyn Jarrett, but since she was only weeks old, she has gone by the nickname Jeanie, so it stands to reason that her business bears the same name. For more than 45 years, Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals has served the local community from its store on West Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. in Milledgeville.
“The years have flown by,” said Jarrett, reflecting on her time in business.
Jarrett was inspired to open her own flower shop based on the history her husband’s family has in the industry. Approximately 100 years ago, Jarrett’s husband’s ancestors opened a flower shop out of their home.
“They were the first and the only flower shop in Milledgeville,” said Jarrett. “Learning that history, and being young and having small children, I was looking for a way that I could take care of my family and continue to work to bring in some income.”
Over the years, Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals has been a family affair for Jarrett, her husband and their four children.
“They have grown up in here,” said Jarrett.
Now that family affair also includes nine grandchildren. Jarrett said it is not uncommon for many of them to come in to help out during the busiest holidays for the business each year.
“On holidays, all of them help, including grandchildren,” said Jarrett. “They love it, and they’ve gotten good experience.”
Additionally, Jarrett’s sons, Mark and Mike, are part of the store’s staff, with Mark handling deliveries and various aspects of business operations and Mike specializing in the design of arrangements and gift presentation.
Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals sells a variety of floral arrangements, plants, fruit baskets, stuffed animals, balloons and more. Gift baskets are available for holidays as well. The store holds affiliations with FTD, Teleflora and Flower Shop Network, allowing them to fill orders on a national and international basis.
“It also gives us the capacity to be able to send some flowers to Hawaii, or Japan, or wherever. We can also receive flowers through our network,” explained Jarrett.
The store has working relationships with the hospital, local schools and all of the area funeral homes. Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals offers delivery services within Milledgeville city limits and in parts of Baldwin County in addition to delivering flowers to funeral homes in Jones, Hancock, Wilkinson and Putnam counties.
Jarrett said that while Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day continue to be their busiest holidays, the store stays busy year-round by servicing clients for everything ranging from birthdays to funerals. Jarrett often sees college students come in wanting to send a gift to connect with a significant other attending college in another city. She has also done her share of helping customers craft the perfect “I’m sorry” message to attach to a floral arrangement to a loved one.
“Sometimes I feel like we are matchmakers, and we help to rescue certain relationships,” said Jarrett with a smile.
Another big season at Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals centers on springtime proms and graduations. In addition to selling corsages and boutonnieres, the store offers tuxedo rental services.
“You can come in and take a look in our books, and you can select what you want,” said Jarrett. “We will size you and we will get the tuxedo of your choice.”
Jarrett is especially looking forward to this year’s prom season after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many such celebrations in 2020. While she graciously refunded deposits on numerous tuxedo rentals last year, Jarrett is eager to help young people prepare for prom again by helping them make selections to coordinate with dress colors and accessories.
“I won’t be frowning like I was last year,” laughed Jarrett.
Despite her sadness from a lost prom season last year, Jarrett said she is grateful for the role her store could play in helping people through the most difficult months of the pandemic. When people had to make tough decisions to not see loved ones in person, Jarrett and her team helped clients pick out floral arrangements and gifts to send a little love across the miles.
“We helped families stay connected,” said Jarrett.
The website for Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals boasts a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Jarrett said she thinks it is important to stand by her products, offering refunds or replacements if a customer is not fully satisfied.
“I want you to be happy. If you’re happy, you’re going to come back,” said Jarrett.
Jarrett shows her commitment to customer service every day by filling custom orders even when it means going the extra mile to try to get a certain type of flower or plant for a customer. When something is not available, Jarrett relies on her decades of expertise to offer alternatives to make sure the customer is happy with their order.
“We are very, very conscientious, and we are very anxious to please,” said Jarrett.
After more than four decades in business, Jarrett feels it is the positive response from customers that keeps her going.
“I enjoy making people happy,” said Jarrett. “I think this has been a good choice for me because I’m a people person. I like working with people, and I like talking with people. It’s been good for my family also.”
Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals
341 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., Milledgeville
Facebook: Jeanie’s Flowers and Formals
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to noon