Gay Atlanta florist Foxgloves & Ivy retains its bloom through pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic created a mixed bag for Atlanta florist Foxgloves & Ivy. Wedding cancelations torpedoed business, but other holidays managed to make up for it.

“We haven’t been able to do any weddings since the industry has shut down,” out co-owner Larry Hammack told Project Q Atlanta. “Weddings shifted from spring to fall to next year. Honestly, I don’t have much faith that we’ll be able to do those next spring.”

Some 23 years after opening its original Virginia Highland location, the business now on Moreland Avenue in Little Five Points did shut down in March due to the pandemic. It reopened in May, just in time for one of its best Mother’s Days ever.

“Because everyone’s at home,” Hammack said. “We’re not doing gangbusters, but we’re staying steady. I don’t think we’re going to be any worse off than last year.”

Still, the pandemic led Hammack to do something he never would have imagined before this strangest of years — banning customers from inside the store.

“If we have anyone that orders and wants to pick up, I make them stay outside,” he said. “They have to wear a mask, and I wear a mask. The only people allowed in the store are me, my designer and my driver.”

Foxgloves & Ivy’s deliveries are also contact free.

Hammack didn’t have to lay off workers. A small loan from the federal Small Business Association helped keep business going during the roughest part of the year.

The store counts on a strong holiday season to round out an uncertain year.

“If we can just keep it at this steady pace, we have the opportunity to do more at Thanksgiving and Christmas because more people are staying home,” Hammack said.

“I put the Thanksgiving centerpieces on the website to order, and within 10 minutes I had my first order,” he added.

In the meantime, Hammack gears up for the long haul as Georgia enters the third spike in coronavirus infections and no sign of eased restrictions.

“My gut is saying we’re not going to see any major changes until the start of summer,” he said.

Foxgloves & Ivy is located at 484 Moreland Ave NE. Visit their website.

A grant from Facebook Journalism Project’s COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund made this story possible.

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