ALBANY, NY: A retailer in downtown Albany that has expanded in both size and scope was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony today, Small Business Saturday, November 27, 2021. Joining Owner Louis Bannister and Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director Georgette Steffens in celebrating The Enchanted Florist and Gifts of Albany at its 54 Columbia Street location were Assemblymember John McDonald and property owner Jack Yonally.
It was during a gap in his career 15 years ago when Bannister decided to follow his dream of entering the floristry industry, and during the COVID-19 pandemic when he took another leap and expanded the businesses space and offerings beyond his custom floral arrangements. Operating first out of his basement, he opened The Enchanted Florist of Albany at the Columbia Street location in 2013, with the decision to expand the size and scope coming after Valentine’s Day 2021 when Bannister realized he needed to find a new location or knock through the wall; his adoration of the existing space, landlord, and neighborhood led him to expanding into the neighboring space.
With the expansion, which added roughly one third more space, came new gift offerings and a new name to reflect the changes – The Enchanted Florist and Gifts of Albany. Now at approximately 1,000-square-feet, the shop has maintained a cozy atmosphere while also giving Bannister more room to meet with clients, prepare arrangements, and display a growing selection of hand-picked items. Gifts available range from tote bags, and gourmet chocolates to Albany-themed tea towels, flasks, pillows, glassware, postcards, and more. Local creators represented in the offerings include Hot Crispy Oil, made in downtown Albany, and Troy-based Fat Crow Gourmet and for one product especially, it gets even more localized; the dried lavender bunches available are Bannister’s own.
Customers are thrilled with the addition of space and products and the ability to pick up gifts in addition to flowers, Bannister says, adding that he loves experiencing their reaction once they realize what’s happened. The expansion continues into the digital realm as well, with customers having the ability to add gourmet chocolates to their online flower orders, and the shop’s Facebook page is currently a focus for making more of the gift inventory available for online purchase. Shipping is available for gift items, an increasingly popular option as people from the Capital Region and beyond see inventory posted on the shop’s Facebook page and call to place orders.
The Enchanted Florist and Gifts of Albany owner Louis Bannister said “I’ve built my career around taking seemingly random items and arranging them into something beautiful, and I am so excited to have extended this from flowers to the gifts available now in the shop. Thank you to my existing customers for your ongoing support, and I look forward to welcoming new customers into the space and helping them create the perfect packages complete with arrangements and hand-chosen gifts for a special occasion, or just because.”
Assemblymember John McDonald said “The pandemic has taught us that as a small business owner you need to be perseverant, and you need to pivot. I give you a lot of credit for deciding to grow and expand, and congratulations on your decision. I have been, and will always be a supporter of small businesses, not just on Small Business Saturday but small business every day. Thank you for being a shining example of perseverance.”
Property owner Jack Yonally said “Louis brings so much to Downtown through his shop, personality, and generosity. On Small Business Saturday, and year-round, we should celebrate those who invest in their communities, and with this expansion in space and gifts, Louis is proving that even during tough times, he is committed to the downtown Albany neighborhood. We are grateful to have him as a tenant, and excited to celebrate this day with him.”
Georgette Steffens, Downtown Albany BID Executive Director said “Louis has been a dedicated supporter of Downtown since opening and has brought so much joy to our District through his shop, and to Capital Region residents through his arrangements. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Small Business Saturday and highlight the critical importance of supporting locally owned businesses during the holidays than to be here celebrating the expansion of his space and offerings. Congratulations and thank you, Louis, for being an unwavering champion for our District.”
Located at 54 Columbia Street, The Enchanted Florist and Gifts of Albany is open Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-2:00 PM and by appointment. Floral arrangement orders can be placed in-store, by calling 518.813.4990, or online at enchantedfloristalbany.com. For more information and updates, follow The Enchanted Florist and Gifts of Albany on Facebook at facebook.com/EnchantedAlbany and Instagram at instagram.com/enchantedfloristalbany.