Florist wasn’t about business and money’
A longtime Aiken businessman, who died last week, is remembered as a family man and a giving man who never met a stranger.
Terry Shaffer, owner of The Ivy Cottage on Park Avenue, died on Jan. 21 at Aiken Regional Medical Centers at the age of 62. He is survived by a number of family members, including his life partner of nearly 30 years, Charles Turner.
Turner recalled meeting Shaffer in 1984 when Shaffer worked at Fat Man’s Forest in Augusta, where he was a floral and costume designer. Shaffer later got a job at a florist in 1984 and opened The Ivy Cottage in 1992.
Shaffer was well known for his work at Fat Man’s and developed a solid customer base at The Ivy Cottage. He was named the Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Person of the Year in 2003 and won Outstanding Florist by the Aiken Standard multiple times. He was also named one of the Top 2,000 florists in the country by Teleflora.
“He was dedicated,” Turner said. “If somebody needed something on Sundays, he was there to deliver.”
Shaffer had his own style of arranging and was talented at combining colors.
“He did more of an airy kind of flowers,” Turner said. “His flower arrangements would look more like an English garden than a bunch of flowers stuck in a bowl.”
Ivy Cottage employees described Shaffer as having a heart of gold. Sue Phillips has worked at The Ivy Cottage for 19 years.
“It wasn’t about business and money,” she said. “He loved this shop, he loved being here. He loved what he did. We were just like family to him. He wanted to be here every day.”
Mary Turner said Shaffer was like a son to her.
“He saw more of me than he did his own mother,” she said.
Phillips said Shaffer “could do anything.”
“If he couldn’t do it, it couldn’t be done,” added Peggy Parry.
Shaffer said the two would have celebrated their 30th anniversary this Labor Day. Every 10 years, he got Shaffer a ring of some sort. On their 10th anniversary, they went to New York City, and Turner wanted to re-enact a scene from Shaffer’s favorite movie, “An Affair to Remember,” so they went to the top of the Empire State Building. Shaffer was afraid of heights, though.
At the top of the Empire State Building, Turner gave Shaffer a box with a diamond wedding band inside.
“He said, ‘Oh, this is wonderful. Can we get away from this edge,’” Turner recalled with a laugh. “This year was gonna be jade.”
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.