Longtime Havana florist retires

On Friday, June 30, Edna Hall, the owner of A Touch of Class Florist, celebrated her retirement from the business after over 34 years serving the floral needs of Havana and the surrounding communities.

That afternoon, Hall’s family and friends came together at the shop one last time to show their appreciation and fondly remember what the business meant to themselves and the community.

Hall is a North Florida native who lived out of state for a while.

She came to Havana in the fall of 1988 chasing a dream, a dream of owning her own business.

“I was told about the flower shop [in Havana] being for sale. I was down visiting my family, and I was looking for that. I had looked at shops in Southern Alabama and North Florida, and this one just…it was right. I knew it when I walked in. So I recall making  the phone call home to say ‘I found the shop. We’re moving back to Florida.’ So that’s how I came to Havana. It was all meant to be.”

A Touch of Class Florist and its historic building has been a landmark in Havana nestled on the corner, often used as a guidepost for travelers and locals alike.

The building has roots even deeper than the flower shop.

The building, located at 103 North Main Street, was the local doctors office for Dr. Sapp. 

Edna’s son Aaron Hall said to this day it is not uncommon for complete strangers to ask to have their picture taken in front of the old building.

It was the place where many locals were born.

Hall described her path to becoming a florist as beginning quite naturally.

“I look back on life and think, no, I didn’t know I wanted to be a florist. I was always very creative with my hands. I grew up on a farm, and I would roam the hills around the farm and gather weeds, sunflowers, and wildflowers, put them in cans. I didn’t know that could be a profession at that time. While living in Tennessee, I took all the classes I could.”

Hall attended Murray State University in Kentucky, and they offered a program in floral culture/horticulture. So she took those classes.

Edna Hall smiles for a photograph with her husband Scott Whitehead (left), and son
Aaron (right).

“I was working; I was a mother with a small child,” Hall shared. “I worked days and went to school nights.”

Although college helped her with the business side of things, Hall said it was real life experience that helped her creativity blossom.

“I interned with several florists in the area, who were very kind and generous with their time, so I learned more from the internships than I did in college,” Hall said. “The art came from within, along with life long watching, listening and learning.”

Hall’s retirement as the owner of A Touch of Class will hardly mean the end of her involvement in the community.

Hall and her family have owned and operated Faith Funeral Home and Crematory, located off of the Florida-Georgia Highway, since its founding in September of 2003. 

Hall’s husband Scott Whitehead is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Florida and Georgia, and her son Aaron is a funeral director there as well.

Hall herself is a licensed pre-needs counselor, who helps individuals and families plan ahead for funeral services before a death occurs.

Additionally, Hall handles both the financial and the marketing sides of the business.

“Faith Funeral Home was something I didn’t know that I was going to be a part of,” Hall said. “My goal in Havana was to be the town florist, and then life changed for me.”

Faith Funeral Home doesn’t only serve the Havana community.

Families from within the Big Bend region as well as South Georgia are also in its service area. 

Hall describes the funeral industry as very traditional, and that Faith Funeral Home was for at the time of its founding.

Walking in the front door, the interior is brightly lit and inviting, so family and friends arriving for a funeral service can immediately experience a feeling of coming home.  

One experience Hall shared was created in memory of a friend’s mother who loved Coca-Cola and honey buns.    

With that knowledge, Hall made beautiful floral arrangements using Coca-Cola cans as vases, and set out bowls filled with cans of Coca-Cola and honey nuns for guests to enjoy.

Edna Hall reminisces with guests over past floral creations.

“It is very important that the last memory be as flawless as possible,” Hall said. “When we have the family coming in, there’s a lot of details, and it’s overwhelming for them so we become the facilitator of trying to remove as much stress as possible.”

The chapel area where services are held is also somewhat unconventional, featuring comfortable padded chairs instead of pews, which can be rearranged from the traditional rows into an almost restaurant style seating with tables added, and the chapel is reserved for an entire afternoon, allowing family and friends to gather and socialize in a comfortable atmosphere.

Hall is also currently the president of the Havana Garden Club, a role she has held before, during the years when the expansion of the Hazel Baker Community Center was under construction.

Hall has also served with Havana Main Street as a board member, and is currently on the advisory board.

She is involved in the restoration of the bank building on the corner of Main Street, and was the chair of the design committee when the project began. She is on the fundraising committee as well.

So while Hall will no longer serve as the town florist, her service to Havana and the surrounding communities is far from done.

Looking back, Hall has pleasant memories of being a florist for the Town of Havana.

“Everyone was very supportive of that little shop, becoming my friends and family. They have created a love within me, and some of those individuals were born while I was running the shop. For some I’ve created flower arrangements when their parents got married, I did their prom flowers, their wedding flowers, and now I’m taking care of their family members in the last season of their life. Who else can say that? This has truly been my honor.”

Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service


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