It looks like a flower shop, but dig a little deeper: Floradora helps rebuild lives

Born out of a longtime love of design, beauty, special occasions, and gardens, Meghan Hoffman is growing a duo of businesses that bring joy with a single stem, celebrate life events, and work to change the world ... one woman at a time. 

At Floradora, located in the Flint Farmers’ Market, you will find dozens of unique, colorful flowers and accent plants—each personally selected for sale by Hoffman, the owner. You will find daffodils and magnolias as well as thick green dianthus and purple artichokes.

It just seemed like fate when planners identified the need for a flower vendor at the Flint Farmers’ Market when it moved and expanded to its current First Street location. Hoffman brought more than 10 years of experience in event styling and floral design.

Previously working for a number of hotels and resorts, Hoffman would handle the design and detail aspects of weddings held there.

“I just fell in love with decor and centerpieces and seeing what you could do ... it’s just beautiful,” said Hoffman. “My mom always had a beautiful garden in Mackinaw, still does, so it just came pretty naturally.”

This year, she has booked 44 weddings, which are a cornerstone of her business—as well as the Farmers’ Market storefront. She employs six people and is planning to move to an expanded location in the Capitol Theatre when it opens. 

Related story: Building a business empire (and marriage) in Flint

As Floradora blossomed, so did a new business venture that focused as much on community building. Hoffman partnered with the YWCA to create EmFlower, a farm/greenhouse/garden located a few blocks from downtown.

Here, women served by the YWCA—women who often are in the midst of building new lives for themselves after abusive relationships—learn new skills, get meaningful employment, and a taste of entrepreneurship. 

Now in its second season, the farm uses organic practices, although it is not yet certified as organic. They grow a variety of vegetables as well as fruit and flowers. The food grown goes back into the community, used in the kitchens at the YMCA’s SafeHouse as well as dinner tables of the farm’s Flint neighbors. The rest of the food is sold to local businesses, and the flowers go exclusively to Floradora.

Working seven days a week for four to five hours in the morning through the afternoon, employees do everything from planting to laying drip lines and landscape fabric, and making flower bouquets to learning new farming techniques.

The women who work at EmFlower also are earning a paycheck and moving a step closer to independence. 

It is, Hoffman said, a joy. 

“Watching these women and seeing how it’s changing their mentality about life—I mean it’s hot out there—but they are so happy to have a job, happy to be taking the classes that are going to be offered with us,” said Hoffman. 

Read more articles by Makenzie Schroeder.

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