Cast your mind back to those first two weeks of lockdown. They were hard, for everyone, and trying to find the positive, finding beauty, in those weeks, well, it wasn’t easy. Unless you lived in a certain part of the Sydney’s inner-west that is.
“I got a lot of comments from a lot of customers to say they were so happy to see me open,” says Michael Alamaddine, a florist with 32 years’ experience and owner of Flowers on the Point, who decided to remain open every day of lockdown in Glebe.
“People passing by, going for a walk, they said, ‘you are very essential, you put a smile on everybody’s face’. Flowers they do help and so I did consider myself an essential service!”
Michael’s exquisite floral displays light up the footpath along Glebe Point Road and with many of us only leaving our homes for a daily walk, they became an important part of the community and community spirit. So did Michael. Just to see a familiar, friendly face, continuing to do what they love, saying a quick hello/how are you, seemed to make all the difference. Once we settled into working from home, our desks needed something extra special and while we weren’t allowed to go anywhere, those that still had some money to spare wanted to buy flowers, plants and herbs for the garden.
“Spending hours at your desk, colour and nature will always put a smile on your face, even something green really makes a difference”, Michael explains, “even my son, who was working from home, was so miserable every time I went home so I gave him a bunch of flowers ‘try it,’ I said!”
They made his son laugh and smile, and soon enough business improved. From locals and new passersby, to the increase in phone calls from outer-city and interstate relatives and friends who wanted gifts for loved ones, we were buying flowers. Not only that, we went native. A combination of reduced overseas imports and their long-life appeal, Michael’s orders for Australian natives have never been bigger. It’s something he continues to encourage, passing on support to local growers.
“I knew a lot of shops weren’t busy but I was so thankful, so grateful. The locals played a huge part. They were buying flowers and I will always say this about Glebe: the people are humble, they lend a hand, they wanted me to keep my doors open. They did that in style. And you know, it put a smile on my face”.
For the community then, having Michael as a constant throughout lockdown has meant a way to find beauty in the everyday. For me, it has meant an aspect of self care can be fulfilled with a weekly bunch of flowers. And for Michael, the compliments, the support, has allowed him to stay positive, holding onto what he loves most of all.
“That’s the beauty of flowers. If you’re happy, you buy flowers, if you’re sad, you buy flowers. They celebrate every occasion and you can never say no to nature, colour or perfume. There’s simply no better sight when you wake up in the morning”.
Michael Alameddine is owner & founder of Flowers on the Point