The best way to see a florist’s work is on display.
At Lashee Floral and Events, located on the New Center One Building’s main level at 3031 W. Grand Blvd., the colorful arrangements and gift packages are some of the first items that get attention.
“Walking traffic is what I have, so I’m more visible and people can see us passing by,” says owner Claudette Wellons. “We’ve been blessed to be there for six years, and we’re looking to grow. I like the feeling and openness of people watching what you do.”
Lashee Floral and Events is one of a dwindling number of independent Detroit florists, but one of dozens of small businesses contributing to the city’s growth and entrepreneurship.
Detroit is home to more than 50,000 minority-owned businesses celebrating upward growth trends, up 4 percent in 2016, according to the JPMorgan Chase Institute. The holiday season, for many, is critical and can be a game-changer.
This business owner is among the many bullish Detroit-based businesses who feel that this year may be their best ever.
Wellons has owned the business for more than 10 years. Originally from Inkster, she moved to Detroit, bringing with her a long-time passion for creating flower arrangements. She uses a variety of flowers, including roses, orchids, tropical plants and all types of different colors to give her creations a little “pop.”
In recent years it has become somewhat less common for customers to walk in to flower shops because many floral orders can be submitted online. Wellons likes that her shop lets her interact with customers and get to know them. The bustling office building, filled with restaurants, retail shops and company suites provides a cross-section of metro Detroiters with individual floral needs.
“We have more variety of clients,” Wellons says. “You have the everyday, the ones who have special occasions in the building, and the ones who are getting married.”
Along with the other “special occasions” clients, Wellons has done work for a few major events, including a Stevie Wonder tribute reception last year. A street sign not far from Lashee was renamed in Wonder’s honor and Wellons provided table arrangements for guests who celebrated the event. The job felt personal, she says, after watching Wonder grow from his early days at Detroit’s Motown Records into a legendary musical artist.
“The connection was strong for me,” she says.
When Wellons creates floral pieces the arrangements tend to reflect the energy and essence of what her customers are seeking, says Jeanine Haith, who became a friend following a business relationship she and Wellons developed in 2004.
“She’s honest, passionate and she’s just very cognitive of budgeting, time management and execution,” says Haith. Wellons’ positive attitude carries over into her work, she adds.
“She’s just really compassionate and energetic,” Haith says. “She’s so grounded and connected.”
Editor’s Note: Lashee Floral and Events is located on the New Center One Building’s main level at 3031 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48201. Call (313) 575-6114 or visit them on Facebook.
This Small Shops feature is sponsored by Bank of America.
To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources for small business owners visit: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/business-financing.go
— Lead photo by Elayne Gross