April 17, 2024

A Floral Family Affair

The generations of women behind Golden Hill Farms
By Hanna Lee-Kleb | March 23, 2024

In the quaint downtown of Elk Rapids sits Golden Hill Farms, a shop where the artistry of floristry meets the rustic charm of a family-owned farm. Founded by Amy Hendrickson (also known as Amy Kate) alongside her daughters Abbey and Amanda, this endeavor stands as a testament to their shared passions for flowers, entrepreneurship, and family.

More than just business partners, the Hendrickson women cherish getting to work alongside each other every day. “We are an incredibly tight-knight family, and working together is fun,” Abbey says. “Our 84-year-old nana/mom still helps in the store and manages to keep up with us all!”

As Abbey explains, “We all kind of have our different strengths and weaknesses. Mom manages the bulk of our weddings and events. I run the store with Amanda, who heads up our social media and marketing.”

This interplay of talents and personalities forms the cornerstone of their collaborative spirit. “There are nights where we will all be up at 2am just texting each other our next big idea,” says Amanda.

From Florist to Farmer

The early seeds of the business started with Amy, whose journey into the world of floristry has its roots in her childhood, spent amidst the bountiful gardens of her grandmother’s farm.

“It all began with my dad’s mom, Grandma B, an avid organic gardener,” Amy says. “She would let me cut flowers whenever I wanted. She grew all kinds of fruits and vines, herbs and flowers, which made it exciting. Four of our families had bed and breakfasts located in the village, and Grandma would let me choose whatever containers she had in her hutch to use for the bouquets being placed in the rooms.”

After growing up and moving away, in the mid-1980s, Amy’s longing for home prompted her return from Florida, where she worked in a flower shop. Before resettling in Michigan, she enrolled in a floral school in Chicago, setting the stage for the rest of her career.

Amy’s first venture, Thru the Grapevine, started in her garage in Suttons Bay before expanding to a store in Midland and eventually finding its home in Elk Rapids. Abbey and Amanda’s childhood home was right next to the shop.

“We were always running into the store, playing with flower scraps and anything that was on the shop floor,” Abbey recalls. “We would sell our makeshift bouquets, painted rocks, and homemade crafts on the shop porch, so I guess we were always trying to be entrepreneurial like our mom.”

Making Time for Flowers and Family

Abbey’s own move to Elk Rapids was sparked by her family’s desire to live near water yet be on a farm. “When my husband and I found this property with a bunch of barns and land for flower beds, we knew it was perfect for establishing the farm,” she says.

While Amy specializes in delicate flowers and established plants for her nationally-recognized floral work—primarily for weddings—Abbey focuses on hardier perennials and annuals that can withstand the elements.

“We start our flowers from seed, which allows us to customize flowers for our special events, market bouquets, and dried everlastings.” Abbey explains. “In the offseason, we source flowers from sustainable farms to accommodate our everyday floral requests.”

Presently, the whole family resides within a seven-mile radius of each other.

“We have dinner together about four times per week, and if there’s any reason to gather and celebrate something we’ll find it,” Amy jokes. “Tonight we have a birthday ‘pawty’ for one of our dogs. Between our four family farms, we have seven Golden Retrievers. That’s where the shop’s name comes from.”

Growing Golden Hill Farms

Perhaps those happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever vibes have also spilled over into the vibe of the downtown store. The Hendricksons tell us that since opening in 2021, the shop has been embraced wholeheartedly by the local community. “People love having another retailer downtown, especially one that’s open year-round,” Amy says.

That appreciation goes both ways. “We love getting to know our customers on a personal level,” Amanda explains. “It’s not uncommon, especially in the winter, for people to come in with their morning coffee just to enjoy the flowers and the warmth the shop exudes. It feels like spring in here right now!”

Beyond fresh-cut stems, Golden Hill Farms offers a little something for everyone. The inventory includes dried and silk flowers for custom orders alongside gifts, homegoods, clothing, and other eclectic finds. Abbey and Amanda pride themselves on creating a warm, welcoming space.

“We carry things we’d have in our own homes and cater to different styles and generations,” says Amanda, highlighting the shop’s commitment to meeting the unique needs of its large summer season clientele.

As the Hendrickson family looks ahead to 2024 and beyond, they remain steadfast in their commitment to growth, innovation, and community engagement.

“We’re constantly evolving … we have a huge dream board and a lot of goals,” Abbey says, noting plans to expand their offerings and enhance their online presence with a new website. As northern Michigan transitions into spring and flowers bloom anew, the family is also gearing up for flower season on the farm, events and weddings, and working to share their offerings beyond Elk Rapids.

Find Golden Hill Farms at 131 River Street in Elk Rapids. (231) 264-6938; amykatedesigns.com

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