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Somerville florists struggle with business loss, but are thankful for their community

Somerville florists struggle with business loss, but are thankful for their community

Hide caption [Photo by Laura McLean] Without weddings, graduation parties, and corporate functions, Somerville florists feel the impacts of the pandemic.

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Graduation parties? No more. Weddings? Postponed until 2021. Corporate functions? Gone virtual.

In short, almost every occasion that traditionally calls for beautiful floral centerpieces is on hold, but Somerville florists are still finding a way.

Nellie’s Wildflowers owner Joyce McKenzie was scared like everyone else when coronavirus came to Massachusetts, but has adapted to fit the need.

“I thought we’re never going to be able to open the door again, but a couple days in we realized people need flowers and life,” she said. “They need plants – they need us.”

McKenzie started by dropping her minimums, and has been with just her partner to continue delivering flowers around the city. She does the arranging, he does the delivery.

“It really took a few days, but after those first two days I thought, I’m not going to give up,” she said. “I live in the community, and I need to work. I can’t just sit home and watch the news. We put signs in the window and said, ‘if we can help you to cheer you up, whatever you can afford we will deliver.’”

Bostonian Florist owner Ada Tauro said this has all been a huge financial burden. She, too, has been navigating this mostly alone, though her fiancé helps her with deliveries.

“In the beginning, I feel like we weren’t that informed about it, but when he made that [stay-at-home] call I thought it was absolutely necessary,” she said. ”[But] I came in every single day, I never stayed home. I was contacted by the city Health Department three times threatening to shut me down, but I couldn’t say no to my customers who were losing people to COVID.”

Tauro has been on Highland Avenue for 20 years, and said she couldn’t say no to someone crying on the phone just looking for flowers for a small funeral. Tauro lost her father to COVID-19 on April 25, and said this has been a challenging and emotional time because of that.

“I’m still struggling as far as getting help in here and getting back on track, but I feel like a lot of people are nice and understanding in trying to support local businesses and I am so enthused and happy about that,” she said. “This is my third child, this is my life.”

McKenzie and Tauro said they will be approaching big events with caution, and will take it slow to make sure they can do the work safely. McKenzie said it was tough when all the big events canceled, but it’s been busy enough to pay the bills.“People have been ordering flowers for other people, and then deciding they need them in […]

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