OKC VeloCity | Homeless Alliance, Curbside Chronicle open flower shop

Homeless Alliance, Curbside Chronicle open flower shop

By Staff Reports / Member News / January 14, 2021

A flower shop that employs people transitioning out of homelessness is now open in Oklahoma City. Curbside Flowers operates like a traditional florist, but will offer education and job skills training to people while also seeking to break down social stigmas surrounding homelessness.

“Flowers are beautiful, and so are people,” said Ranya Forgotson, director of the Curbside program. “It’s incredibly important to us that we help put a face and a name to the issue of homelessness in our community. We want people to be able to see someone beyond just the problem that they’ve experienced.”

Curbside Flowers, located at 522 N. Classen Blvd, will operate as a full-service flower shop providing flower delivery, a small retail shop, wedding and event floral. 

The Curbside Chronicle, a program of the Homeless Alliance, provides both a voice and employment opportunities to people who are experiencing homelessness through the sale of its local magazine. In recent years, the program has expanded its product line to include local artist-designed wrapping paper and flower bouquets.  

“The community showed our small floral campaigns so much love, that we decided to embark on a brick-and-mortar flower shop,” said Forgotson.

Curbside Flowers, located at 522 N. Classen Blvd, will operate as a full-service flower shop providing flower delivery, a small retail shop, wedding and event floral. 

“For many who have struggled with homelessness for an extended period of time, traditional employment can be out of reach,” said Forgotson. “Barriers like not having an ID, an address to put on a job application or access to regular hygiene facilities are just a few of the challenges that people can face.”

The Curbside Chronicle magazine provides low-barrier employment opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. Magazine vendors learn time, money management and social skills and are paired with case managers to work on goals, starting with housing. Now, Curbside Flowers will allow the organization to employ people ready to transition into a more traditional work environment. Each vendor will earn a college certificate in retail floral design through a partnership with OSU-OKC and will be trained in the Curbside Flowers retail shop, helping participants build job skills, gain work experience and grow in self-confidence. 

The first class of Curbside vendors graduated from OSU-OKC in the fall just ahead of the flower shop’s opening with support from the Inasmuch Foundation.

The Homeless Alliance was presented with a seed grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation to help launch the flower shop, while support from the public allowed them to purchase a flower delivery vehicle.

The Homeless Alliance is no stranger to utilizing business strategies to accomplish social good. In addition to Curbside Chronicle and Curbside Flowers, the organization also operates Sasquatch Shaved Ice, a nonprofit snow cone stand that provides supportive employment opportunities to youth who have formerly been involved in the foster care system or who are at-risk of homelessness.

“Businesses and nonprofits each have a place in this world,” said Forgotson. “But organizations that combine the two and use businesses practices to improve their community have always inspired me. Oklahoma City is such an amazing community, and the people here have been so supportive. We are excited to open the flower shop, and can’t wait to see how the community lifts up our employees.”

For more information about Curbside Flowers, visit them on Facebook, Instagram or at www.CurbsideFlowers.com.

 

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