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Saying pay it forward with flowers

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    Petal It Forward in New York City in 2015.
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    Petal It Forward in New York City in 2015.
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    Petal It Forward in New York City in 2015.
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    Petal It Forward in New York City in 2015.

October 9, 2017 11:30 pm

Petal It Forward is an initiative the Society of American Florists began in 2015 to brighten the day by giving flowers away to random people.

Angel’s Trumpet Flowers & Gifts in New Lebanon and Karen’s Flower Shoppe in Cairo will both be new participants in the event. The owners of both shops are members of the society.

The nationwide event occurs in all 50 states, in over 300 cities, according to the society’s website.

This year, the event will be taking place Wednesday.

During the event, lucky recipients will receive two bouquets: One for them and one for them to give away to someone else.

There are no visits to homes to give the flowers away — flowers are given away to random people, whether they’re on the street, in the supermarket or at the park.

Karen Gallo, owner of Karen’s Flower Shoppe, said she is excited about thanking the community with the event for the first time.

“This is not mandatory — this is something we choose to invest in to brighten people’s day,” she said. “It helps promote the floral industry as well.”

Karen’s Flower Shoppe will be giving away 200 bouquets to 100 people, Gallo said.

“I like to give stuff,” Gallo said. “It’s an awesome way to promote my business and make people happy.”

Gallo said she would rather participate in an event like this to make people happy for no reason, rather than an event in the wake of a tragedy — something that has been nationally evident these days.

Being on the board of directors of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce, Gallo is a community-driven person who is targeting the event toward the entire county.

Employees of the flower shop will be assigned to certain towns, Gallo said. She said she plans to hit the mountaintop in the morning and make a big push for giveaways at 3 p.m.

“If we get a good response, we want to do more next year,” Gallo said. “We want to see where this takes us.”

Linda Hursa, owner of Angel’s Trumpet Flowers & Gifts, said this random act of kindness can make a difference.

“It lets people know how much flowers can make a difference in someone’s day,” she said. “It’s a really nice program that they do.”

Hursa only plans to focus on the New Lebanon community with her event — people out during the day, local businesses, restaurants, cafes or public offices.

“It’s a random act of kindness that will hopefully promote positive emotions amongst all the negativity in the world,” Hursa said.

Angel’s will also be giving away 200 bouquets to 100 people. Hursa plans to give away flowers throughout the entire day.

“It’s our first year,” Hursa said. “We want to reach out here and see how it is accepted.”

Jennifer Sparks, vice president of Marketing for the Society of American Florists, said the society did not want it to be only a giveaway on their end.

The effort has been increasing year after year since it began, Sparks said.

According to a survey conducted by the society, 80 percent of people said receiving flowers makes them happy and 88 percent of people said giving away flowers makes them happy.

“The concept of getting two bouquets and giving one away to another person takes a minute,” Sparks said. “It’s interesting to see that happen.”

Sparks said when the society shared the idea with members, many of them jumped at the chance to participate.

Even people who don’t officially sign up as members participate in the event, Sparks said.

“This industry embraces a smile,” she said. “Especially in a time like now — it’s a terrific bright spot.”

Sparks said she has been in touch with a florist in Las Vegas who signed up to participate three weeks ago.

“I checked in with them because I wasn’t sure if they could do it,” Sparks said. “They still are — they actually said their effort is going to be bigger now.”

To reach reporter Anthony Fiducia, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2309 or email