This feature on Holly Chapple Flowers is part the #LoudounPossible Success Story series compiled in celebration of Loudoun Small Business Week 2022. For more information on the week’s festivities, plus other engaging stories of sustainable business growth, please visit LoudounSmallBiz.org.
Holly Heider Chapple was born over the river in Columbia, Md., but you’d never know it from the way she talks about Loudoun, a county where she’s called home for more than five decades.
Home isn’t always where you hang your hat, especially for an accomplished florist, designer and educator, who has traveled the world teaching about flowers. But home for Holly has always been where she finds inspiration, community and the best stems for her arrangements.
“In Loudoun County, I became who I am, and I can reach a little higher knowing I have a community behind me,” she said with a smile. “#LoudounPossible, in my mind, is more ‘Loudoun Made This Possible.’”
Generational Farming and Entrepreneurship
Chapple’s parents operated several small businesses through her formative years, including garden centers that remain open today. No matter what they did, it always tied back to the land.
“They were farmers through and through, and following in their footprints was a natural progression for me. The garden has always inspired my designs,” she said. “My first resource for sourcing was my father’s garden center.”
Chapple lives in Lucketts with her family, where she made the most of their two acres, but did most of her business elsewhere – including the White House and European castles.
“For many years, I sat on the tourism board as a wedding florist. I often wondered how my business could contribute to the whole?” she said. “We dreamed of having our own farm/venue, where I could share my talents and knowledge from our farm instead of renting in other cities.”
That vision took her just a few miles from home, to the perfect farm in Waterford that came on the market. After her realtor, her second call was to Loudoun Economic Development.
“I met with the county at the farm to discuss my vision and dream before I put a contract in on the farm. With their encouragement and support, I dared to try,” she said. “I am pretty sure I would not have had the courage to try for all of this or dare to dream so big without the support I received from Loudoun Economic Development.”
Throughout the year year, Chapple draws in visiting florists, generating overnight stays for bed and breakfasts, meals at local restaurants, and tourism dollars into Loudoun County.
“We settled on naming it Hope Flower Farm and Winery. People travel from all over the world to visit our farm,” she said. “My design aesthetic requires unique stems of the highest quality; growing them and sharing them with visitors to the farm became our passion and goal. My love of flowers has morphed into a business with endless possibilities.”
COVID-19 Threatens Everything
Chapple’s schedule was booked solid when COVID-19 struck in March 2020. In the blink of an eye, all travel, all hosting, all weddings and marquee events were indefinitely postponed. Every industry Chapple serves was locked down.
“The pandemic should have decimated my company. Traveling abroad or even designing in DC was no longer an option. We lost 99% of contracted wedding work and 100% of the income we had secured for educational conferences,” Chapple said. “Instead, the pandemic allowed me to focus on the farm and my county.”
Her busy schedule had prevented them from ever fully realizing the potential for Hope Flower Farm, which was to showcase flowers and their uses in all forms.
“We now provide wedding flowers, sympathy flowers, edible flowers and fruits, products to help you design flowers, books about flowers, vases for flowers, flower fabrics, flower-infused soaps, honey, hard cider, and someday flower infused wine,” she rattled off. “Oh, did I mention edible flowers and flower arranging classes and flower festivals and flower CSA’s?
“We even pulled off online flower conferences hosted by our farm!”
As restrictions lifted and people looked for safe outdoor activities, Hope Flower Farm became a go-to place for floral experiences.
It was also an opportunity to focus on family, which is always Holly’s first priority. Known throughout the flower world as “Flower Mamma,” Chapple’s seven kids have always been part of her journey.
“My kids are a massive part of my success. My strong desire to be home with them made me turn to entrepreneurship and flowers in the first place,” she said. “I used the resources I had to build a business that allowed me to have a big family.
“Over the years, all four of my oldest children have contributed to our business. I hope we have built something that will inspire them, and help them as they develop their worlds. At the very least, they have learned what is possible with hard work and good relations.”
A Bright #LoudounPossible Future
Beyond flowers, the Chapples have expanded operations into winemaking, officially becoming a farm winery.
Hope Flower Farm recently applied for and received a $50,000 Loudoun County Business Reinvestment and Recovery Grant, with funding allocated by the Loudoun Board of Supervisors from the American Recovery Plan Act. The money will be used to fund their expansion on many fronts.
“The sky’s the limit when it comes to flowers, and we are pressing hard to be THE flower destination,” Chapple said, beaming with pride. “Being able to serve my local community gets me back to my roots.”
Thinking of starting or relocating your business in Loudoun County? We are a full-service economic development organization, dedicated to your #LoudounPossible business success. Working with us is like adding a team of no-cost specialists to your team, with expertise in the following areas:
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