Three Latina florists create success together

The perfect floral arrangement is not an easy thing to create. It takes skill, flowers and greenery that complement each other, and the right vase to bring them all together. But once they do come together, the result is almost magical.

For local florist Oralia V. Espinoza, building her business has been like creating the perfect flower arrangement. April 1 marks the 20th anniversary of her Spring Garden Flower Shop and within that time, Espinoza has pulled together the skills and support of her mother-in-law Florinda Espinoza and longtime employee Elida Alonzo to complement her own talents to create the perfect synergy. When she decided to open her shop, at 211 Brooklyn Ave., Espinoza relied on the support of her family — especially her husband David Espinoza and her mother Margaret Vega.

Florinda was also right there to help jump start the business by helping on evenings and weekends. “It was scary at first because we didn't know anything about fresh flowers, but I always knew the shop would succeed,” said Florinda, 77. Florinda, known affectionately as Grandma to shop employees, retired in 1995 from the San Antonio Independent School District after 28 years of service as a custodian. Two years later, she began working full-time at the shop. Florinda has made a career out of serving others and is delighted to continue that tradition. “I like making people happy with the arrangements I make,” Florinda said.

Serving others is something designer and shop manager Alonzo, 68, also knows much about. Alonzo began at Spring Garden Flower Shop in 1992 when she moved to San Antonio. She began her career in the floral industry as a housekeeper for a flower shop in her hometown of Seguin at the age of 16. With a quiet determination, Alonzo studied what the other designers did while she cleaned the shop. Her determination paid off when she opened her own shop in 1982 — an achievement she once thought was beyond her reach.

“I think women, especially Latinas, should go after their dreams — especially owning a business,” Alonzo said. READ FULL STORY

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