BY INDIANA NASH
NISKAYUNA- Through his years of growing trees, fostering flowers and running Felthousen’s Florist and Greenhouse, Bob Felthousen has seen Niskayuna grow up around his shop.
On December 3, he celebrated the 103rd year of the family’s business with their traditional open house.
“Niskayuna grew up around us,” Bob said. When his family first founded their shop, the town was mostly farm land.
“I built this greenhouse in 1980, next to my father’s store there,” Bob said.
The greenhouse is home to chrysanthemums, wreaths, pansies and holiday decorations.
It is still attached to the gift shop where there are assorted gifts and a workshop where the wreaths and floral gifts are created.
The Niskayuna location is their first, but they’ve since expanded.
They have locations in Cohoes and Troy as well.
“We expanded when the opportunities came up,” Bob said.
But he sees Niskayuna as a jewel of sorts.
“I saw Niskayuna become an extension of Schenectady. . . This is where people came to live,” Bob said.
While Bob is still involved in the business, he’s turned over most of the operations to his nephew Mark Felthousen.
“He’s worked here for over 20 years now and he’s taken up the mantle,” Bob said.
Indeed, it seems that Mark was born with his own green thumb.
“I think it’s in the genes,” Mark said.
Since he’s been in the business he’s seen the demand for quick delivery increase.
“A lot of things now are ordered on the internet and people want them within 24 hours. We try to accommodate that as much as we can,” Mark said.
However, there are some things that haven’t wilted in the industry.
“All of the traditional things are still there . . . people still want wreaths,” Mark said.
Throughout the morning, customers stopped in for a quick chat with the florists and to grab a wreath or too.
With 2016 supposed to be one of the warmest years on record, the winter flower market has been a little different from past years.
“The warm weather has made things interesting in terms of delivery,” Bob said.
It’s made it easier to deliver wreaths and decorations. Felthousen’s is used to trudging through snow and and sleet to get to their customers. They’ve only had rain to contend with this season.
Despite the store’s age, Mark and his fellow florists keep everything updated, hanging cacti and air plants in glass orbs some decorated with holiday themes.
That’s one way that Mark is, as he says, “Just keeping it going.”