By Emily Beckett
Imagine a place where the fragrance of freshly cut, red roses and greenery in one room gives way to the aroma of homemade dressing and green beans in the next room.
A place like this exists in Chilton County, and it’s called the Maplesville Florist and Bake Shoppe.
Owner Tammy Seales takes pride in the dual business she and her husband, Terry Seales, built next door to his business, Terry’s Small Engines, on Alabama Highway 22 in Maplesville.
“We’re in it together,” Tammy said.
In 1992, she bought a flower shop in downtown Maplesville in order to buy a slice of the wedding business pie.
“I bought a flower shop because I wanted to do weddings,” Tammy said. “It was touch-and-go when I bought the flower shop and didn’t know anything about flowers.”
Tammy and her flower business began to flourish, though, and she moved from downtown Maplesville to her current location on Highway 22 in January 1999.
Long-time employee and friend Sara Atchison made the move with Tammy and handles most of the specialty-design flower arrangements.
Atchison has worked at the flower shop for about 21 years now and is a fully self-taught florist.
“My husband died and I was 49 years old,” Atchison said, “So I had to get out and make a living. I just applied for a job and got it.”
Atchison designs arrangements for houses, funerals, Christmas open houses and many other events important to customers.
“She’s great to work for,” Atchison said of Tammy. “We have more than just a working relationship. It’s not just this right here.”
Tammy complimented Atchison’s creativity in floral design and her commitment to the business.
“I couldn’t do this flower shop without her,” Tammy said. “She gets funky with hers. I’m not funky.”
The flower shop is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon
About 20 paces away from where Atchison stood at a worktable one Thursday sealing cut flower stems with hot pan glue, Tammy rejoined her kitchen staff in the restaurant portion of her business.
The Bake Shoppe is essentially a catering business and meat-and-three restaurant that serves lunch Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until the last patrons finish, which is usually about 1:30 p.m.
Her dine-in menu changes each day and comes in the form of a small slip of paper with the day’s choices of meat, sides, bread, dessert and drink.
All patrons have to do is use the pencils provided to write their first names at the top of the paper, check which items they want and give them to the waitress.
“We serve a lot of people on their lunch breaks,” Tammy said. “People come from Selma, Prattville, Maplesville School, Isabella School and Randolph. I have a lot of teachers that support me.”
George Walker, a former Maplesville principal and Chilton County Board of Education member, enjoys the relaxed atmosphere Tammy’s Bake Shoppe offers.
“It’s just homey I guess,” Walker said. “(It’s) nothing fancy—just good food.”
Betty Jean Reynolds is another regular at the Bake Shoppe. She drives about seven miles from her Stanton home to partake of Tammy’s Southern-style cooking.
“I come about three times a week when she cooks,” Reynolds said. “It beats cooking.”