Friday, February 19, 2010

Todd Allen - Forget Me Not Floral

Ada - Opening the heavy, glass door to this small business you would never guess it specialized in flowers. Rock music from a little radio revs through the air in this interesting, artsy, shop. On a closer examination, there are huge tables covered with colorful ribbons and flowers. A

second floor houses artful arrays of decorations. A man talking on the phone greets the visitors with a friendly smile. After he puts down the phone, the owner of this charming flower shop extends his hand.

Todd Allen is an Ada native and the owner of Forget Me Not Floral. Allen was attending college at the University of Oklahoma when his parents purchased Forget Me Not Floral. The family had no concept of how to run a floral business. Allen decided to transfer to East Central University to assist his family with the business. He became extremely interested in the shop and took courses in Houston, Texas to educate himself in the field. "I view what I do as an art," Allen says as he grins. Looking around, one might believe that the shop is an art studio, than a flower shop.

Allen is serious that his flower shop succeeds. All of his employees are required to attend ECU continuing education courses on floral arrangements, plant care, and processing techniques. Allen says that by taking these classes, his staff become more educated in plant care and the techniques that satisfy a wide spectrum of customers. Allen studies and keeps up with the current floral trends from the East and West Coast. "We stay on top of current trends and what is nationally popular," Allen states "The other flower shops in Ada still look just like they did when grandma owned them."

The most popular time for this business is Valentine's Day. Allen pointed to the back of the room to a little 8x8 walk-in cooler. "You want to see something really crazy, come in here on Valentine's Day," Allen says "This cooler is filled to the top with roses!" In the spring, proms are scheduled every weekend. Allen and his employees make corsages, roman armbands, and other unique designs to suit any prom girl's dream. During the summer, the majority of weddings ceremonies take place in Ada and nearby cities. According to Allen, the bride has more options, receives the highest quality flowers in town, and has the best wedding consultant in the state available at Forget Me Not Floral.

Allen opened the 24-hour vending flower machine. Allen called it, "The-get-out-of-the-dog-house-for-college-guys." Forget Me Not Floral sells items from the vending machine every night. Allen said that the vending is highly convenient for customers on Valentine's and Mother's Day.

Forget Me Not Floral also started the "cash 'n carry". You don't have to buy the vase, because it's just wrapped up in tissue paper at a decreased price. This is a more environmentally friendly. They also recycle the glass vases that are returned.

Todd Allen keeps his business on the cutting edge, which helps Ada stay fresh on the contemporary fashion of flowers. His business gives Ada something excitedly modern to look at. This little business is such a great establishment to have in this town. Allen's concepts of, "Out with the old, in with the new" keeps customers satisfied.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

PB and J Sandwich

My stomach was growling and turning. I have worked up an appetite after moving all my things into my new apartment. I only had a few things in the refrigerator. Peanut butter, grape jelly, and a loaf of wheat bread on the counter. Perfect. The peanut butter was hard and cold and ripped up the bread, thanks bright idea. I didn't care, I was hungry. I shoved the torn up, cold, sandwich in my mouth like I haven't eaten in days. That is when I had my first bite of independence.
I was 18 years-old. I was just starting to get used to the fact I was alone. By myself. The feeling was liberating for a few hours... Then I started feeling lonely and second guessing myself. I pulled myself together and realized that this is life. Whether you have someone with you or not, you are alone. Reality is what made my meal perfect.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Invention of Carelessness

I never was the one to follow trends with my age group. I like what I like, and I have no regrets. Sometimes, I can't help but laugh at people that show interest in things that should have never been invented. For example, the snuggie. Why must we need a blanket with armholes? Are people to lazy to uncover their arms and reach for the remote?
We are distracted with all of the gadgets that provide entertainment and comfort. We forget what is truly important. A few days ago, I was cashing out a customer. We have donation buckets for agencies that provide extra assistance for children that need help reading. They sit on the counter. Well, while cashing out, the customer's 8 year-old child asked me if the buckets were for Haiti. The father, while grabbing the $400 dollar game system, replied, "What is Haiti?" I immediately wanted to fall to the ground crying. What have we turned into?