Written by Bonnie Jefferson
Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday was a lesser known shopping day – Small Business Saturday. Begun last year by a credit card company, the suggested shopping day received much more coverage in the news this year than it did last year. It was a day to support locally owned businesses. And many people came out during the day to shop the locally owned stores.
Saturday, this writer made a little “field trip” to downtown Albany to see if I could find something to buy that would support one or more of those businesses. I shopped at several of the businesses that were open and made some purchases but I had planned to end my trip at the Flower Gazebo, located in what was known as Sandy Bottom. My visit was two-fold. One was to see Elaine Barrett, who along with her husband Rick, own the business. I had not seen Elaine in quite a while and I wanted to spend a little time in their business and possibly make a purchase.
Elaine and Rick have been in the floral business for over 30 years and both are remarkable floral designers. Their shop smelled so good with all the fresh flowers around. It can be difficult to be business partners with a family member, much less a husband, but they seem to have defied the odds.
Located downtown, between Flint Ave. and Roosevelt Ave., at 313 N. Washington St. For some reason many people seem to think downtown ends at Pine St. but nothing could be farther from the truth. The flower shop is only a block and a half from Pine St. and there are several other downtown businesses in the area. Half a block further on is Thronateeska. Unless you drive down Roosevelt Ave., you must drive past Flower Gazebo. Because they don’t see as much foot traffic as some businesses do, their floral work is primarily with fresh cut flowers which they deliver with a smile. But the talented duo can do most anything with flowers and greenery that you can imagine.
White there, I noticed a poster up in the store that mentioned “The 3/50 project”. This was begun by several small businesses and the poster asks that you think of 3 locally owned businesses that you would truly missed if they were to close. After doing that, the project suggests you spend $50 or so each month with the stores you would miss. Big box stores have taken over and as a result, smaller businesses have a much harder time making ends meet.
I’m afraid I’ve thought of many more than 3 and The Flower Gazebo is one of them!