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By Lauren Catherine
Lewiston’s well-established floral and gift shop Enchanted Florist, at 739 Center St., is taking on a new life, with new owners Gabrielle and Hassan Ford already making strides to grow the business and their family legacy.
“We’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and we’ve always wanted to be more of an asset to our community. We want to bring money to the community and build it up,” Hassan said of he and his wife, who together also own personal training business Body by Ford in Niagara.
Enchanted Florist has been in Lewiston for 38 years, opening in 1984. Former owner Peter Tagliarini approached the Fords when he wanted to sell the business, Gabrielle explained.
“He knew of our talents, and he was interested in retiring, and thought we would be able to continue the business and make it successful – if not even better,” she said.
Tagliarini’s daughter, Alexa, has also continued to work at the shop as a designer.
As new owners, the Fords said they saw the opportunity to purchase both the shop’s Lewiston and Niagara Falls (2448 Military Road) locations as a means of helping others as well as themselves at the same time, explaining that they are happy to be employers who can provide jobs and help put food on the table for their employees and their families.
Originally from Niagara Falls, Gabrielle said she and her husband lived in Lewiston for roughly 15 years before moving back to the city.
“Our daughters grew up in Lewiston,” Gabrielle said, explaining the “quaint” community holds a special place in her heart. “Everyone loves Lewiston. Why not be a part of that community?”
“Center Street was a part of our life,” Hassan added.
Adrianna, Jason and Salvatore. (Submitted photo)
Family at the Heart of Business
Gabrielle comes from a family of florists and said her mother, now passed, provided a great source of inspiration to her.
“My mother always had that dream of her children owning a business and (especially) because we are so talented,” she said.
Hassan said Gabrielle “loves to create – everything she touches turns to gold.”
Gabrielle said her sister, Maggie Murgia, owned the former floral shop Harris & Lever Florists in Niagara Falls and is now the lead designer at Enchanted Florist.
“We bought this wanting to have a family business,” said Gabrielle, who explained her daughter, Gabriella (Ella) Giacometti, is also a designer; and her other daughter, Genna, markets the business with her graphic design background and social media skillset.
“We hope that it can carry on to our grandchildren even,” she said, noting they already enjoy being at the shop.
Overall, Hassan said “our main goal is that we want to leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren, not just the physical part, but we also want to leave (a legacy) of being respectful and living with integrity.”
Commitment to Community
“Our idea for a flower shop is more or less having fun and putting smiles on people's hearts and their faces,” Hassan said, while also acknowledging they help customers during difficult times in their life, such as when a loved one passes.
“We are compassionate people, so that is a fulfilling part of it,” Gabrielle said.
The Fords explained they already are very active in community work, helping others through Christmas giveaways and volunteering to help those in need.
“We always try to give back,” Hassan said. “We are grateful God has given us the opportunity.”
Gabrielle explained that, with all the hard work, talent and passion, “God has been the No. 1 part in this.”
Chamber Supports Fords with Ribbon Cutting
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Enchanted Florist owners Monday at the Lewiston location.
Director of Membership Chuck Barber said he is grateful the chamber can help the Fords build their network and become more active in the community.
He said, “It's great that a long-term business-like Enchanted Florist is now part of the chamber,” and noted, “They are a staple” in the local community.
Barber described the business as a “great go-to place” and that it is “one of the major floral delivery services that people can call on to celebrate or (when they are) in times of need.” He thinks the chamber will service the Fords as “a great support system.”
Hassan explained he and his wife enjoy opportunities to network with other business owners and help spread the word about each other's offerings.
“Being connected with the Chamber of Commerce allows us to be even greater, and we can learn about the other businesses, as well,” he said.
A New Chapter for Enchanted Florist
The Fords said they look forward to moving forward, paving their own path with the business.
“When it comes to opportunity, there's always going to be a challenge – anything new is going to be a challenge, of course,” Hassan said. “We love challenges. There’s a saying that ‘pressure busts pipes,’ but I say, ‘pressure makes diamonds.’ ”
For more information about Enchanted Florist, visit www.enchantedfloristny.com.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for new Enchanted Florist owners Gabrielle and Hassan Ford. (Image by Kevin Krisnosky/courtesy of the chamber)