Ashley Etzkorn
Ashley Etzkorn

VAN WERT – After graduating from Bowling Green University with a degree in tourism and event planning, Delphos native Ashley Etzkorn knew she wanted to work with people in a creative setting and saw the perfect opportunity when the Ivy Hutch flower and gift store in Delphos became available in 2012. After years of success there, Etzkorn purchased Fettig’s Flowers in downtown Van Wert in 2020.

“I liked the creative part of tourism and event planning,” said Etzkorn. “I started working for a flower shop in Findlay while I was in college, but I knew I wanted to move back to Delphos. I started working at Ivy Hutch and fell in love with this career and the diversity of not doing something that’s the same every day.”

Etzkorn, a 2007 Delphos St. Johns graduate, purchased the Ivy Hutch from Sue Schrader in 2012.

“I love Ivy Hutch and what we do here. We kept expanding what we do here, and we just knew we wanted to grow and keep serving people,” said Etzkorn.

This desire to grow her business led to the purchase of Van Wert’s Main Street business Fettig’s Flowers last September. Etzkorn purchased the shop from Dan and Marcia German.

With purchasing a new business that is only a short drive away, Etzkorn said there was concern that one shop might “steal” customers from the other, but she said that the Van Wert and Delphos communities are each very unique.

“Owning two businesses is challenging, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Etzkorn. “Just seeing the difference in what each store has to offer and what their strengths are has been really interesting. After having done it at Ivy Hutch so long, it was interesting seeing how someone else does it, and then adapting things. We learned a lot from what they already did at Fettig’s, and now we’re trying to do some new things too.”

After purchasing the Ivy Hutch, Etzkorn said that the store continued to carry many of the same products. With the acquisition of Fettig’s, a new laser system has been introduced so the shop can offer custom engraved gifts. A new candle line, drinkware, and gifts have also been introduced.

“We’ve built up the fresh part of what they already did,” said Etzkorn who noted that owning the Ivy Hutch for six years prior to Fettig’s helped her learn what new items would work at the Van Wert store.

Etzkorn said that it can be hard to divide her time between both shops, but really enjoys the risk of owning her own business.

“Owning your own business is a huge risk, but there’s that adrenaline of making it work and having fun,” said Etzkorn. “I also like design and showing people unique options for something they might already be shopping for.”

Etzkorn said she loves working with customers, showing them new perspectives, and helping them find the perfect gifts and flowers for their situation.

Etzkorn, who purchased one of her businesses during the middle of a global pandemic, encourages others looking to start a business to just go for it.

“There’s no better time than now,” she said. “We bought a business during a pandemic and it was terrifying because there is no guarantee [that it’s going to work out], but there is never a guarantee. No matter what time of the year, what’s going on in your life, you just have to do it.”

After purchasing Fettig’s, Etzkorn’s husband, Aaron quit his nursing job to work full time at both stores. While Etzkorn said that the move was a “leap of faith,” it was a rewarding one for her family. Etzkorn and her husband have two-year-old twins named Kara and Emmitt.

“You have to do what you love, and just go for it,” said Etzkorn. “Know that you’re going to make it work. If you tell yourself it’s going to work, it’s gotta work.”

The Ivy Hutch is located at 666 Elida Ave. in Delphos and the Fettig’s Flowers is located at 130 E. Main St. in Van Wert.