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Arizona Grant Opens Doors of Opportunity for Local Industry Members

Next year, two floral industry members from Arizona will have the chance to attend exciting national industry events to further their education, learn new techniques, and network with other industry members – thanks to AFE’s Arizona Retail Floral Education Travel Grant. 

The Arizona Retail Floral Education Travel Grant was created to provide support for traditional retail florists in Arizona to pursue floral industry educational or design events outside of the state of Arizona. The grant is open to owners, managers, and employees of traditional retail florists with a brick-and-mortar storefront in Arizona. 

The fund was established from the defunct FTD District 8K with additional initial funding provided by Ken and Lynn Young of Phoenix Flower Shops. The fund continues to grow with contributions and support from Arizona floral businesses.

“This travel grant provides a great opportunity for Arizona florists to expand their education at a national event, connecting with florists from around the country,” Ken Young, AFE Chairman, said. “Afterwards, they can share their industry knowledge with their peers in Arizona, bringing back new skills, ideas, and networking connections.”

This year, the Committee was able to grant two lucky industry members with travel grants due to the growth of the fund – Caroline Naylor of Razzle Dazzle Flowers & Gifts and Shannon Partin of Cactus Flower Florists. 

Caroline Naylor, AzMF

Caroline plans to attend  the SAF 2024 Annual Convention in Miami. Along with her sisters, Clara and Marcella, Caroline owns Razzle Dazzle Flowers & Gifts in Mesa, AZ. They are excited to celebrate their 20th anniversary of opening their shop in 2024, and are a fully family-owned and operated business. 

After attending the SAF Annual Convention in Phoenix this year, Caroline and her sisters decided they will try to attend every year to each absorb as much knowledge and education as they can. 

“Then, we can regroup and implement the ideas and strategies we gleaned from attendance and from meeting other shop owners from throughout the nation who are experiencing many of the exact challenges we are facing,” Caroline said. 

“This grant will help immensely with the cross-country travel required to attend SAF 2024 in Miami and I am deeply appreciative and thankful to be one of the recipients in 2024. Thank you!”    

“I was honestly shocked when notified of being awarded the 2024 AZ Travel Grant from AFE, and then elated to hear that there was enough funding available to award two grants for 2024!” Caroline said.

“I know there were several great applicants who would benefit, and my personal expectation of myself is to be able to contribute in future years to continue the advancement of the floral community in Arizona by enabling qualified applicants a chance to further their education, training and life skills. As the saying goes, the rising tide lifts all boats.”

Shannon Partin 

Shannon will also be attending the SAF 2024 Annual Convention in Miami. She currently works at Cactus Flower Florists in Scottsdale, AZ as a buyer of hardgoods, gifts, and plants. 

Shannon has been at Cactus Flower since 2013 continuously, with another 3 years dating back to 1990. She says, ‘Being part of the Cactus Flower family is a terrific place to be. I truly love my job.”

Before working at Cactus Flower, Shannon worked at several other florists in the area, gaining experience in all aspects of the floral industry. 

Shannon attended her first SAF Annual Convention this year in Phoenix. “I found it to be a great experience, valuable for both learning and meeting new contacts!” Shannon said. “Thank you to the American Floral Endowment for this travel grant which will enable me to further my education! 

The application deadline for this grant is October 1st each year. Examples of eligible opportunities include: Floral Design Schools, SAF Convention, Cultivate, FTD Boot Camp, AIFD Symposiums, Floriology Institute, Teleflora Academy Events, SAF Profit Blast, State or Regional Floral Conventions,  and others.

Applications for this travel grant must be for an industry event in the coming year. Learn more and get a kickstart on next year’s application here!

Those interested in making a contribution to the Arizona Retail Florist Education Travel grant can learn more and donate here.