Business & economy, In the community

Vale florist expands to provide art, cooking classes for community

A Vale flower shop is expanding to provide art and cooking classes after winning a $25,000 grant.
The Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board, known as the Border Board – awarded the grant to Luzetta’s Flowers and Gifts at 168 A St. E. to open space for a regional learning lab where the business will provide classes to the community.
Sarah Rodriguez, Luzetta’s longtime owner, said the grant would allow remodeling to create a classroom, add lighting and buy laptop computers to provide classes. She also will have space for artists to showcase their work, which would include other floral arrangers, quilt makers and cardmakers.
Rodriguez said those artists need more space and access to the products that Luzetta’s has at its location.
In later phases, Rodriguez said she hopes to add a walk-in cooler and a kitchenette for cooking classes and rent the space for bridal showers or other community functions.
Rodriguez said there would be a cost for the classes, but they have yet to be finalized.
Rodriguez said she hopes contractors can start the project in the next few weeks and complete it by early September.
With her husband TJ, Rodriguez purchased the flower shop in 2008 and has been hosting the floral arranging classes for nearly a decade. She said they had been mulling for two years how to expand to offer additional classes and space for artists.
It was not until someone suggested the business apply for the Scott Fairley Memorial Edge Grant offered by the Border Board that Rodriguez could advance her dream.
According to the grant application, Luzetta’s is putting up $26,000 to match the grant.
The application notes that given the flower shop is located in downtown Vale, the learning lab would serve as a “hub for networking and collaboration, connecting individuals with potential employers, mentors, and peers.”
Also, according to the application, the lab would provide access to resources and training not available in the region.
“Why not have something here,” Rodriguez said, “and provide for our local community or possibly bring Idahoans over here?”

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