Owner of Avánt Garden flower shop Allen R. Baney sorts through the flowers from his new shipment he gets every other day in State College, Pennsylvania on April 6, 2021. Delivering flowers makes people happy, and making people happy makes Baney happy. Something he likes about is job is that “Everyday is different, we get to create different things, see new flowers and new products.” Everyday Baney has been able to wake up and know that what he is doing will put a smile on someone’s face.

Although it seems like Avánt Garden is a small flower shop, they have done flowers for huge name celebrities including Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West, Cher and more. When performers hold concerts at the Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State campus, Avánt Garden caters all of their floral needs. A fun fact from Baney was that Kanye West requested thousands and thousands of dollars of only green hydrangeas. When he talks about experiencing something new every single day, he really means it.

When COVID hit and huge events like concerts were cancelled, most people didn’t think about all of the damaging affects that trickle all the way down to small businesses. Baney lost so much of his business when COVID restrictions against these concerts were put into effect. He was forced to let go a majority of his employees, and many are still unable to be hired again. This was any business owners nightmare. Shipments were put on hold for a while as well, as there were acres of flowers rotting in fields because there was no workers to harvest them. Although COVID put Avánt Garden and Baney through a rough patch, he has been able to stay positive. The amount of phone and online orders have increased, as we are all adjusting to the contactless society that is now our reality.