Raised in Ecuador by generations of rose farmers Giovy Buyers, owner of Southern Blossoms in Dilworth, always knew that she wanted to continue her family traditions. Combine this love with an entrepreneurial spirit she’s showcased even as a young girl, and it’s no surprise that she’s become a successful florist. The journey hasn’t been always been easy.
Before moving to Charlotte, Giovy and her husband lived in Washington, D.C. where there were flower shops on every corner. “I knew it would be tough to make it as a florist there,” she says. “But then we moved to Charlotte, and I knew right away that it was the perfect place to open a floral business.”
Giovy began providing floral arrangements for A Fruit Basket—a Charlotte company with a fifty-year history in the community – in her spare time. Things worked out so well that in December 2008, Giovy bought the company.
Then in 2009, the Great Recession hit. As a result, within a year of buying her business and beginning her floral career, she had to tap the brakes on her entrepreneurial endeavors. But Giovy never gave up on her floral aspirations and in 2016 she launched Southern Blossom. Her business has been growing ever since.Until this year.
“It was scary!” Giovy says of those early days during the pandemic. “Not knowing the future, not knowing if you or your family was going to catch this virus—it was awful. Plus, I had my family back in Ecuador to think about.”
In March, when Governor Cooper issued the shelter in place order for all non-essential businesses, Giovy was forced to close her doors. Soon after, her supply chain broke down. As the pandemic wore on, she saw all her summer events cancel.
At the end of March she had a shop full of unsold flowers. But rather than let them fade away, she created floral arrangements and delivered them to a Charlotte nursing home. Then, in May, with her doors still shut and the biggest flower day of the year looming, she got creative and turned to her network to provide flowers to Mothers throughout Charlotte.
“It wasn’t about business, it was about humanity,” she said. “The Charlotte business community has been great. We had no flower supply at the time, so I had to call on local farms that had flowers but couldn’t sell them. We then partnered with Fahrenheit and Pour64 who helped spread the word about what we were doing and at the end of the day our regular customers had flowers for Mother’s Day, local farms were able to sell flowers, and our partners were able to get flowers to their customers. It was a win-win for everyone, and the best Mother’s Day ever.”
Like many small businesses, she has applied for federal pandemic aid—but so far has come up short. As such, she recognizes that there’s a strong chance that she may have to close her doors for good.
Despite this, there’s a certain intangible in people like Giovy that carry them through tough times. “I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit my whole life,” she says. “Tough times come. And then they go. But as long as I have passion for my work and am surrounded by people who love and support me, I know that in the end everything will work out.”