Mark and Charlene Jung in the front lobby near the
spring display at Design Originals Floral in Hartford.
The husband and wife team will be retiring this year
after 30 years in business.
John Ehlke/Daily News
HARTFORD — Charlene and Mark Jung plan to no longer
smell the roses after they close the doors on their
Design Originals Floral shop for good in mid- to late
April after 30 years in business in their historic
downtown location at 15 N. Main St.
“We opened the doors on March 1, 1989 so we will have
been open for 30 years after next Friday,” Charlene
said. The store is now undergoing a liquidation sale.
“We’ve had the building up for sale for about two years
now,” Mark said. “We thought it would be easier to sell
the building and let someone use it for something else.
The shop will just go out of business. We’re getting
more interest on a possible sale after we announced we
According to the archives in the History Room at the
Jack Russell Memorial Library, the building’s history
dates back to 1844. In the 1930s and for many years, the
building was the home for a movie theater and it has
housed other businesses as well.
In 1989 the Jungs signed a lease and opened Design
Originals Floral. They then bought the building in 1992
and recently announced they’ll be retiring.
To mark the couple’s pending retirement, and their three
decades in business, the theme for this weekend’s Iced
On Main, an annual ice carving event, pays homage to the
longtime downtown business with the theme “Design
Originals.” This year at the recent Hartford Area
Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, the business was also
presented with the Chamber’s Legacy Award.
When they opened the business, did the couple ever think
they would be in business for almost 30 years?
“Yeah, I knew we would. Flowers are a passion for me. So
it’s something I knew I wanted to do,” Charlene said.
“We just thought it was time to have life move on to the
next step. We have aging parents and other things that
we want to do. We want to be able to enjoy life some yet
because working six to seven days a week, 10 hours a day
for 30 years — it’s just going to be nice to just be
able to breathe for a little while and kick back.”
Mark plans to continue to work at his other job, at
banner hanging over the door thanking customers for 30
years of business is seen Friday afternoon at Design
Originals Floral in Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News
Charlene said she plans on doing nothing for the summer,
then come fall she is sure she will find something to
do. “I’m the kind of person that’s got to be doing
something so by then I will be ready to find something
fun,” Charlene said. “I’ve had two jobs my entire life
so I think there’s a lot out there that I still want to
go out and explore and see what entices me.”
The couple had to repair and remodel their building when
a fire heavily damaged the building next door where a
nail salon is now located.
“We stayed open for business after suffering smoke and soot damage,”
Charlene said. “We remained open during the seven months
of repair and remodeling. The construction company kept
us in business as they moved us to different parts of
the building. As some areas were completed we moved to
The couple said one of the things they are going to miss
the most after their business closes for the final time,
is the many, many loyal customers they’ve had.
“They initially were shocked when they heard we were
closing, but then when they stepped back and looked at
it they saw us every time they came to shop — they came
to understand how much time and effort it took to run
this business,” Mark said. “We have no children so there
is no legacy to pass on, so they understand why.”
Charlene said customers are “sad to see us go, but they
are also happy for us to be able to retire.”
“We’re going to miss our customers. So many of them are
our friends,” she said. “We’ve waited on people and then
we waited on their children and then we waited on their
children’s children. Many of them are very special.”
To mark the end of an era for Hartford’s downtown and
for Charlene and Mark Jung, on Wednesday instead of
having its monthly event “Fun After Five,” the Chamber
will host a “Farewell After Five” and a retirement party
for the Jungs that’s to include a ribbon tying ceremony
instead of a ribbon cutting. The event will run from 5
p.m. to 7 p.m. at the shop.