When customers enter Deema's Flower Shop, they will be greeted with a friendly "Good morning. Welcome to Deema's."
The greeting is from a family of native New Yorkers, who recently moved to Harlem and have opened a florist in Martinez.
Gladys Forner and her mother, Jane Bunting, with the help of Forner's husband, Peter, opened Deema's Flower Shop on Oct. 3 at 3802 Washington Road, on the corner of Washington and Davis roads.
The shop specializes in fresh flowers, but creates and sells custom-made silk arrangements, bouquets, baskets, wreaths and gifts for the home and special occasions.
"We will do anything, whatever the customer wants is what we are going to do for them," Mrs. Forner said.
Mrs. Forner said the shop, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, also caters to special occasions such as weddings, funerals and graduations.
"My nickname growing up was always 'Dee' and we always called her 'Ma,'" Mrs. Forner said. "So that's how we came up with the name Deema's. (My mother) is part of it."
Mrs. Forner, who was a stay-at-home mother to her 7-year-old daughter, Regina, said she and her mother had discussed opening a flower shop for 10 or 15 years. In August 2004, shortly before Mr. Forner's retirement from the Menands Police Department, the couple made a trip to the area to visit Mr. Forner's two sons from a previous marriage.
Mrs. Forner said it was months before she broached the topic to her husband. The thought of opening the flower shop, something she and her mother talked about for so long, seemed silly.
Mr. Forner had to think hard about the move and the business before making the decision to open the shop.
"But the more I thought about it, I'm sure she was praying in secret about it, I said, 'It's not a bad idea, we might as well,'" Mr. Forner said.
The Forners enjoy being around people and fit in nicely in Harlem, where the couple bought a home. Harlem, they said, is much like the small village of Menands, where Mr. Forner grew up.
"(Harlem) is wonderful," Mr. Forner said.
When the Forners moved, they brought Bunting and Mrs. Forner's brother, Ron Bunting, and sister, Sarah Bunting, too. Mrs. Forner and her mother run the store, while Mr. Forner does whatever he can to help.
Though the Forners are still getting settled into the new store, they've been busy handing out fliers and coupons, passing out roses to motorists in the nearby intersection and donating weekly flower arrangements to area churches to get their name into the community.
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