November 2022 Business Spotlight- Abbott Florist
Abbott Florist: Thriving in Miami Beach
Romina Orozco-Encio has been linked to Miami Beach for over 30 years and is the current business owner of Abbott Florist on Normandy Isle. Abbott Florist started in 1990 when Romina and her family came to Miami Beach from Argentina where her father had previously owned and operated a flower shop. Naturally, his first inclination was to open one of his own in the United States. After some time, the business was then handed down to Romina where she continued to operate it as a family-owned business.
As with any business that has been open for an extended period, Abbott Florist has endured and survived tremendous hardship. Abbott Florist has survived the recession post-dot com bubble, the 2008 Great Recession, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. As with many other businesses, Abbott Florist was closed for 5 months during the pandemic and times were looking grim. Unable to generate any sales, they were beginning to have trouble making the rent for the shop and were also unable to purchase any additional inventory since flower suppliers were also closed across the world.
But, as with any times of hardship in life, there are opportunities to give back. At the height of the pandemic, Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson, hosted food drives for the residents of Miami Beach that were struggling to make ends. At those food drives, came the opportunity. Romina had been walking by the food drives and had inquired on how she would be able to assist with the effort. She was told that there was a flower supplier that was looking to get rid of their inventory. Romina contacted the supplier and was able to secure those flowers and used them to provide decorations for the long lines and people at the food drive. Such was the impact felt by the community that 2 years later, people still show up to Romina’s store and thank her for decorating the line with flowers and giving them at least a moment of happiness during those dark times. By giving back to the community, people still go and buy from her shop which in turn helps her business.
During this time of recovery, Romina was able to find assistance with the help of the City of Miami Beach and from Prospera. The City of Miami Beach Economic Development Department offered Miami Beach businesses a Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus or CDBG-CV grant that was designed to assist small businesses that had to shut down or were impacted due to the pandemic. Romina was able to apply for this grant and was awarded $20,000 of CDBG-CV funds that were used to catch up with rent and to purchase additional inventory now that her business was back up and running.
Through the Miami Beach Business Academy, Romina also received technical assistance help from Prospera free-of-charge. Prospera is a not-for-profit organization focused on providing technical assistance to underserved entrepreneurs so they can better achieve their business goals. Romina attended one of the monthly webinars on capacity building, and in-person training sessions held over 4 days by Prospera focused on teaching entrepreneurs how to apply technology to their businesses, the fundamentals of technology, digital marketing, and cyber security. By attending the training sessions, Romina also had the opportunity to network with other businesses, community partners, banks, and won a laptop computer for her business.
Through the assistance of community partners such as the City of Miami Beach and Prospera and Romina’s entrepreneurial fortitude, Abbott Florist remains open for the community of Miami Beach, providing joy and flowers for the foreseeable future.