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Small Business Spotlight: Airabella Flowers survives shutdown, continues designing creative arrangements

Small Business Spotlight: Airabella Flowers survives shutdown, continues designing creative arrangements

Airabella Flowers owner Terri Dews puts her expert touch to a floral arrangement. Terri Dews has lived in Altavista all her life, with the exception of the first three years. Her shop, Airabella Flowers & Gifts, LLC, is in its seventh year. During the COVID-19 shutdown, she stated, “The first couple weeks were really, really bad. We were worried we would have to permanently shut our doors. We were adding up the bills we had to pay to stay open, and focused on those instead of worrying about profit. Our main focus was keeping the shop open.”

After the first few weeks, Dews says they were able to figure out specific restrictions and reopen the shop at a limited capacity. They realized they could still do phone orders and no contact deliveries, though they were initially limited in their flower supply. Airabella uses only one supplier, due to the quality of the flowers, and some of the trucks from California and Canada were halted, limiting what they could get. That problem has now been taken care of, and they are back to selling and delivering floral arrangements, wreaths, funeral flowers, balloons, dish gardens, and even houseplants.

“With social distancing in place, it was really nice to be able to do no contact deliveries to people in nursing homes, especially when people couldn’t go out and see them,” Dews remarked As of last week, Dews says her florist shop has started back up deliveries to hospitals. “We were unclear as to whether we could or not before, so we waited to make sure it was allowed.”

When asked how the shutdown effected prom and bridal season, Dews replied, “We did lose business to proms being cancelled, but we did still make up some arrangements for graduation. We have been doing some weddings, but they were much smaller due to restrictions.”

As some venues cancelled or rescheduled on brides, Dews said, “We saw many venues were postponing for fall, but not giving dates; I decided to not book any new weddings. That way, the brides that have already booked with me will be sure to have flowers, and it’s one less thing for them to worry about.”

For now, Airabella’s front shopping area will mostly remain closed until the fall. She explained, “People can still come in if they want, some just call and don’t want to look around in the front. We have started putting arrangements in the windows for people to come by and look at, too.”

The shop has kept up delivery, “As far as Danville and Madison Heights, Lynchburg, Moneta, Gretna, Rustburg, all around.”

With only Terri and her husband manning the shop and deliveries, their new hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm, and they are closed on Saturdays except for weddings and funerals. But she says, “One silver lining in all this is we decided to make local deliveries—Altavista and just into Hurt—free as a thank you for everyone who helped keep us going. That turned out so good that we […]

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