Beaconhill Florist & Greenhouse, one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the city, closed Feb. 26. Owner Alan Saniuk, 59, son of Irene and Leo, is retiring from the floral industry and starting a new position in the electrical, plumbing and mechanical field.
It’s a bittersweet move for Saniuk, who literally grew up in the shop, assisting his parents and learning the ins and outs of the trade since he was a small child. He and his siblings grew up in the home connected to the Ridge Road property. Saniuk made his position there official in 1978, working fulltime alongside his family, relatives and friends following graduation from North Royalton High School.
But the years took their toll on Saniuk, who routinely put in 70-hour work weeks, was “on-call 24/7,” and “missed more birthdays, holidays and events” than he could recall, due to the sheer non-stop flow of customers needing flowers for various occasions, including weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and business functions.
“It makes me teary-eyed,” Saniuk said in a telephone interview Feb. 27, reflecting on his long-time career and cherished position within the community. “I would say that I know about 80 percent of my customers by name, and I know their kids’ names and their friends’ names. These people are not just my customers, they’re my friends.”
Beaconhill Florist, which sat at 11450 Ridge Road, lived up to its name, serving as a beacon in residents’ and businesses’ intimate times of celebration and memoriam.
Saniuk shared several anecdotes from his many years as the community florist.
“I remember one time a guy came in needing flowers for his wife for their wedding anniversary, and the very next day, a woman called needing floral arrangements for a funeral. It turned out to be the man’s wife calling. Her husband, who I had just talked to the day before, had suddenly passed away,” Saniuk recalled.
He remembers too, the Easters where his father, Leo, would have 15 women in the shop making corsages, and selling upwards of 1,500 of the ornate arrangements for the Easter holiday.
Beaconhill took pride in its community as well, donating arrangements to civic, school and church events year after year.
“The amount of people I’ve known in my lifetime here, is just unbelievable to me,” Saniuk said. “I always joke with my wife not to send me to Giant Eagle because I could spend five hours in there because I know everybody in there. North Royalton has such a hometown feel. It’s gotten bigger now, but it’s still very comfortable here.”
Saniuk, who resides in a home he built behind the property, remarks too, how much the overall floral industry – and the needs and wants of its customer-base – has changed over the years.
“Floral shops, across the nation, are down close to 40 percent,” he said. “That’s a good chunk. The industry has changed so much. I can remember my dad selling hundreds of annual flats. But people nowadays don’t plant annuals like they used to. They’re more perennials now. And the market, too, is also just so very saturated with flowers. For us, about 75 percent of the business was the funeral trade. But again, trends now are pointing to no visitation and cremation, and people aren’t getting the funeral flowers like they used to.”
The imports on flowers is astounding as well, Saniuk said.
“There used to just be red, pink, yellow and white roses, and now, there are more than 3,000 colors of roses,” he said.
As for plans for the Ridge Road property, it will be used residentially for the gentleman who purchased it, and no longer be a commercial site.
“My mother died in 2016, and her house, that’s connected to the shop, is sitting empty, and I’m still maintaining it and paying taxes on it, and running a business, and maintaining my own home, so all that, coupled with my age and the hours I put in, you just can’t do that forever,” he said. “This is a young man or woman’s business. You really are married to the business. This past Valentine’s Day, I was here till 2 in the morning and then back at it again hours later that same day.”
Being a florist isn’t just “playing around with flowers all day,” as Saniuk puts it.
“It’s a hard business to be in,” he said. “First off, you’re dealing with a perishable product. I can’t make something two weeks ahead of time and let it sit on a shelf. There’s also the constant ordering, and after a while, you do get a feel for what’s moving, but there’s always that constant stress on the mind and just the going over of stuff in your head.”
What energized him the most, though, was getting to know customers and being involved in their various life-events, like doing flowers for a couple’s wedding, and many years later, doing flowers for their children’s weddings.
The time with family and friends will also be a stand-out memory for Saniuk, who worked alongside his mother and father, until their deaths in 2016 and 2000, respectively. Saniuk’s parents, who started the business in 1953, fell upon the property by accident. During their search for a home, their realtor brought them to the property, which was a vacant greenhouse, simply to check on it and make calls, and jokingly asked Leo and Irene what they would offer for the place. Leo threw out a random figure and didn’t think much more about it, until hours later, when their realtor called and told them that their “offer” had been accepted. Leo, who had been a tool and die maker, immediately took to the floral and landscaping trade, and Irene quickly signed up for floral classes.
“We were a family-run business,” Saniuk, who most recently employed one designer and one driver, said. “Everyone was always in here together. Family and friends would help out over the years in any way they could, cutting flowers or making deliveries. My children grew up in here the same way as I did. Over the years, I would have friends come in here and just pick up a broom and start sweeping. Without good family and friends in your life, you’re nowhere.”
Thank you Beaconhill Florist & Greenhouse for 65 years of service to the North Royalton community! Readers, share your memories of Beaconhill Florist on our Facebook page at

Contributing Writer