COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Almost three decades ago, one local Black florist set out to crack into the flower business. More than three decades later, she is the only Black-owned business of her kind in Columbus and still is going strong.
In 1989, Hazel Thomas, owner of Hazel’s Flowers and Gifts, opened her business. Many years and lessons later, that business is strong as ever, and today, Hazel encourages the next generation to take a chance and bet on themselves.
“There are a lot of creative people out there, but they don’t want to take the chance on using their money to open a business and not succeed,” said Thomas. “I’ve weathered the storm, and things are looking up and looking good for us.”
“You just can’t beat good customer service,” said customer Michael Tony.
These days the business looks a lot different from when she first started on Buena Vista Road, but one thing has stayed the same - the pride she has for having something for everyone who walks through the doors.
Tony has shopped with Thomas for as long as she’s been in business. That’s a trait he appreciates about the company.
“She does all types of custom work. Whatever you need. You got a fraternity member that passes. She can do that type of arrangement for you,” said Tony.
You may ask what she looks forward to the most for the next 34 years.
“Being alive. No, I’m hoping that business will just flourish and continue to grow,” said Thomas.
And along with it, the growth of more Black business owners in the flower businesses.
“If the opportunities are there for you, take them,” said Thomas. With that, she also wants more Black people to support Black-owned businesses. She says that the Black dollar could change and reshape Black communities if it stayed in Black communities.
“If we would just look at what we spend ourselves - we spend a lot of money. We give it to someone else.”
Hazel says one of the things that also kept her going for so long is her team of good people around her, helping run the business. Next, she hopes to hire more people with creative minds.
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