Betty J’s plants new roots in Winter Garden
Betty J’s head floral designer, John Taylor, left, and owner Rilla Tomyn are optimistic about their move to Winter Garden. After 50 years on the corner of Bluford Avenue and McKey Street in Ocoee, Betty J’s Florist is making the move to Winter Garden.
When Rilla Tomyn first took over Betty J’s Florist 20 years ago, she was given an integral piece of advice.
“The guy that sold me my first Teleflora package said, ‘OK, this is what you’ve got to know: When you buy a flower shop, never change the location, the phone number or the name,’” Tomyn said.
For 50 years, Betty J’s Florist has stood on the corner of Bluford Avenue and East McKey Street. Now, Tomyn and her team are starting a new chapter for Betty J’s with a move to Winter Garden.
“I’ve been consistent for almost 20 years — I’ve kept all of those,” she said. “Now I’m off on a new adventure. The location is changing, but we’re just two-and-a-half miles away, and we’re going to bring a lot of exciting things to the table.” 6 S. Bluford Ave., Ocoee; 403 S. Dillard St., Winter Garden PHONE: (407) 656-3526 INFORMATION: Although the Betty J’s team has slowly been moving things to the new location in Winter Garden, Rilla Tomyn expects the Ocoee location to remain open through New Year’s Eve. Call or visit the shop’s website for more information or to order flowers. ‘THIS IS HOME’
Betty J’s Florist was started 50 years ago by Betty Jean Brimer and her family. Upon Brimer’s retirement, Elizabeth Longcoy — Tomyn’s aunt — bought the flower shop as a gift to her niece.
“I think Betty wanted somebody that was from here that knew the community to take over and grow the shop,” Tomyn said. “I had no idea what I was stepping into — no idea. … When you suddenly are the owner of a storefront in your hometown, it changes you.”
Tomyn took over the floral legacy nearly 20 years ago, following Longcoy’s death. She and her team have their loyal customer base in Ocoee, many of whom are known by name. The business grew steadily, even in the face of a pandemic.
But the building Betty J’s has inhabited for the last half-century was sold this past summer, forcing Tomyn to decide how to proceed.
“I found out that the building had sold, and you sort of fall apart,” Tomyn said. “It is an emotional attachment, and I would have stayed there forever if something hadn’t given me a nudge. We spent a couple of days trying to figure out which direction to go, what to do.
“We were ready to have some fun and show off and branch out,” she said. “So, Winter Garden was just calling — we could hear it calling — but we didn’t know how to do it. We were in Ocoee, it was the building that the shop had been in forever, and people do not just pick up from a shop that’s been in […]