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Island Flowers bloom with assistance from FSA

Island Flowers by Liana opened their doors to American Samoa on May 7, 2008 — the week of Mother’s day — and business has been blooming every since. From humble beginnings selling cut flowers directly out of nurseries from their home in Maloata, this family run operation has become one of the leading florist shops on the island and a growing contributor to the local economy.

Prior to receiving FSA loan assistance, Donna and Pete Gurr sold cut flowers and potted plants from a nursery at their home for more than 20 years. Florists throughout the community would contact them to buy orchids, anthuriums, and other tropical plants.

“The support we received from the community has been overwhelming. Although we import some flowers, the majority of our products are locally grown and this is what our customers prefer for their floral arrangements,” said Donna.

Orders could be picked up at the nursery, but many times the Gurrs would deliver because of the remote location of their operation. For some, the one and a half hour drive on a narrow, windy road from Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, to the nursery was intimidating.

To help centralize their location, the Gurr family applied for a farm operating loan in 2007 from the Farm Service Agency. That loan gave the Gurrs the ability to make minor improvements to an existing retail space near Pago Pago. The FSA loan provided them an opportunity to move away from wholesale and expand the retail marketing of their products.

“Thanks to the financial assistance received from FSA, we were able to move our business to the next level by taking advantage of a value-added marketing opportunity,” said Donna. “Without assistance from FSA, we would probably still be selling from our home, which had limited us to mostly small-scale cut flower and plant sales.”