All the stars came into alignment for Barbara King, she says.
The President of and driving force behind Valley Forge Flowers in Wayne is a third-generation florist who is now building the second shop of her dreams and even has her own product line that she sells on television.
Some may know the Wayne native as Barbie Hedgecock. That was her name as a young girl when she attended Wayne Elementary School, Radnor Middle School, and Archbishop John Carroll High School.
Her grandfather was a wholesale florist on 28th Street in New York City. He pined boutonnières on businessmen every day as they walked to work. Her father, Jack Hedgecock, decorated Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s penthouse every week.
But in 1966 Hedgecock moved his family to Wayne and opened Valley Forge Flowers in Bridgeport, where there is still a store.
King went to work for Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton when she was 18 years old and “It’s been a wonderful partnership ever since,” she said. Nearly two decades ago Hamilton bought Valley Forge Flowers from Hedgecock and opened the second location in Eagle Village Shops.
King said that Hamilton “has been an incredible mentor to me.” Her most valuable advice — whatever it is, “Just do it.” King’s father was and continues to be influential. She said he taught her never to give up and to do what she loves. And she is doing just that.
In fact, King’s work goes beyond Valley Forge Flowers. She is currently planning The Barn, which will also be located in Eagle Village Shops and will focus on outdoor living.
Also, for many years King has promoted her favorite gardening products on QVC, but for the past two years she sold the home shopping station QVC her own product line, Barbara King Home and Garden.
“It’s really a wonderful outlet for my creative juices,” she said, although the appearing on television took a little getting used to. “I pick patterns and colors and pieces. It keeps me up at night because it’s so much fun to do.”
“I just love what I do,” King said. And she is able to do it all because her family, including sons John and Kyle and husband Joe Paolino, is so supportive, she said.