The mayor’s latest ribbon cutting on Howe Street came just in time for Black History Month and Valentine’s Day — though florist Carrien Davis is ready for just about any occasion.
Davis, who has lived in New Haven since 1992, is the owner of Any Occasion Creation Florist, a Black-owned business that opened its downtown location last July and was celebrated with a mayoral ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 10. The ceremony highlighted a string of recent business openings in the Chapel West District. In an interview with the News, Davis called her store’s move from its previous location in Westville to the city center as “a big step forward” in her career.
“I hope to serve the community, this is family-owned,” Davis told the News in an interview. “But I would love and appreciate the community support. When I sell my flowers, I do it with love. My flowers and my attitude, and just who I am goes hand in hand.”
Davis said that she gained inspiration from her parents, who kept flowers all throughout her home in the Caribbean island of Dominica. She said that as a teenager, she would be tasked with picking flowers from the family garden for the dinner table, and she enjoyed making arrangements. Davis immigrated to the United States when she was 18. Upon seeing the abundance of flower shops and craft stores, she realized she could turn her interest into a profession and began taking orders for floral arrangements from her friends.
Her business grew from there, and over a decade ago, she decided to open a formal shop in Elm City.
Though she had previously planned to relocate to the new storefront during early 2020, the pandemic forced Davis to “stop and stay home for some time.” After she opened her store during the summer, she said that most of her business remained online with delivery orders.
Davis pointed to her family’s support as instrumental in her business’ perseverance, especially after business slowed at the Westville location.
Her husband, Chris, who works full time as a financial assistant for the Yale School of Medicine, helped handle the business’ accounts. He told the News he was proud of his wife’s efforts in growing the business.
“The family and I are very proud of her accomplishments,” he said. “People loved her work, and that drove her to keep pushing despite the setbacks.”
Davis called the pandemic “a big challenge” for the owner of a small storefront and said she is excited about the prospects of the new location. She said that being so close to Yale and on the outskirts of downtown made the location the “best so far.”
As a Black woman and business owner in New Haven, Davis emphasized that despite challenges, she had “risen” to the occasion. She detailed previous experiences where customers questioned whether she was the owner of her shop and mentioned the relative lack of young, Black female entrepreneurs in her field. Davis welcomed all customers to stop by and “buy quality flowers.”
New Haven Deputy Director of Business Development Cathy Graves echoed the need for community support of small businesses.
“This is what we do: we help people launch, sustain and grow their businesses,” Graves wrote to News. “It is critical to not just support local Black businesses in Black History Month, but to create year-round support, to make this our culture. Supporting our Black and Latinx-owned businesses should not be a month out of the year but rather our lifestyle.”
Any Occasion Creation Florist is now located at 89 Howe St.
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