Local Florist Spreads Happiness With Flower Initiative

By Dawn M. Chiossi


It is said that flowers cheer up a mood and generate a smile.

More people may have been smiling last month when Chester Floral and Design, spread happiness all around the community by participating in Petal It Forward. The initiative was held Oct. 24.

Founded in 2015 by the Society of American Florists, the mission of the Petal It Forward campaign is to put a smile on a stranger’s face, surprising unsuspecting people in their communities by giving away two bouquets of flowers at a time. The idea is to keep one and give the other away, whether it is to a friend, coworker or even a stranger.

It’s about sharing, connection, and random acts of kindness.

And Petal It Forward has swiftly become a national movement.

Flowers: There’s something about flowers that immediately lift people’s moods, whether it is seeing those first blossoms, splurging on them as an impulse buy, or receiving them for a special occasion, flowers just make people happy.

Giving them is a simple act of kindness that people will always remember.

Florists in more than 400 cities nationwide in all 50 states have participated in this program. 

Local Chester Floral and Design in Chester seized the opportunity to spread the flower power around, literally going out to the people in Chester to do so.

According to owner Mary Ellen Alcock, it has been participating in Petal it Forward Campaign for two years now.

Alcock, members of her staff, and last year, even her poodle-mix Dalia, visited various establishments including coffee shops and restaurants, surprising approximately 15-20 people with bouquets of fall flowers.

Even though the day was cold and windy, it didn’t dampen Alcock’s enthusiasm for Petal It Forward.

“It’s great,” she says of the initiative.  “It’s so much fun surprising people. Giving away the bouquets is a great way to pass the pleasure along.”

She relates when she met the people, that most of them had never heard of Petal It Forward and had no idea it even existed, so Alcock says her favorite thing about the day was  seeing the smiles on people’s faces once they got over the shock of someone giving them flowers for free and for no reason at all.

“One person even offered to pay us!” she exclaims.

Once people learned of the Petal It Forward campaign and its “get one, give one,” message Alcock relates that some people turned right around and immediately gave a bouquet to a stranger right then and there, while others had someone in particular in mind to give it to.  Alcock remarks, “They would say, ‘I know exactly who needs this.’”

For Alcock, Petal it Forward is an ideal opportunity for her to go out into the community of Chester, showing her appreciation for the supportive people and small town atmosphere:   “This community comes together to support local stores,” she prides.

She eagerly embraces the idea of making a stranger’s day by simply giving them a bouquet of cheerful flowers.

While everyone she met during Petal It Forward was special with their own story to tell, Alcock was amazed by someone who stuck in her mind in particular.    

“When we went to the coffee shop in Chester, there was one person who just had heart surgery two weeks ago!” she explains. “It really makes our day. By just giving flowers we had a hand in making others feel good. “Hopefully everyone will give flowers and pass it on.”

Founded in 2014, Chester Floral and design is a family owned and operated business right in the heart of Chester.


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