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January 1997

Fann Markel: Celebrating Life

 

By Pat ROONEY

One look into Fann Markel’s eyes, and you immediately sense that she is a dynamo. Each day she harnesses that boundless energy to create memories that last a lifetime.

Fann is the founder of The Floristry, 1385 Delaware Ave., and Bravo Events, 71 Park St. - in the heart of the city she loves best ... Buffalo, NY. She is the lady behind the flowers, displays, events and theme parties.

She is the lady who artfully uses her talents to celebrate life.

“It started as a lark, a hobby really,” Fann said, describing her work. “I became involved in decorating projects for various Buffalo-area fund-raising affairs and it just blossomed.”

Today, the talents of both companies are in demand. But no matter how far away from home they stray, headquarters will always be in Buffalo.

“We’ve been to many cities and have done a lot of work out of Buffalo, but there is no place equal to this city,” she said. “We have wonderful caterers, bakers, orchestras, clubs, hotels and people - all of which make our job a pleasure. It’s the finest city there is, and I’m glad
to be a part of Buffalo.”

The talents of Fann and her staff go beyond floral pieces and displays. Whatever is needed to enhance a theme party, special event, wedding or celebration ... this imaginative team deftly creates for individuals and businesses alike.

It’s all about ambiance ...

Transforming an ordinary space into a mystical paradise is the challenge Fann loves best.

“It was fun to redecorate an ordinary restaurant into an exciting French cafe for an evening,” Fann recalled.

Every detail is carefully considered. Don’t like a ceiling? How about drap- ing soft chiffon ribbons or pastels of fabric with twinkling lights?

The artistic mastery of The Floristry creations work in tandem with the intricate technical support from Bravo Events. Bravo is known for creating breathtaking props that make many dreams come true.

“One of our clients in Palm Beach, Florida, wanted a ‘Tea House of the August Moon’ theme for an evening gala,” Fann said. “We had to turn a club into a Japanese Tea House. Bravo created an authentic revolving moon, complete with craters, to shine above the dance floor. This event was so loved that several of our Florida clients now refer to us as ‘The Dream Team From Buffalo.’”

The Floristry and Bravo teams have even gone to Africa to coordinate the wedding of actress Stefanie Powers to Patrick de la Chesnais. It was a five-day affair with a guest list that read like “Who’s Who in the World.”

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Clockwise from top left ... Stefanie Powers, Patrick
de la Chesnais, Julie (Stefanie’s mother) and Patrick’s daughters at home in Nanyuki.

“Stefanie has done great things with and for the Kenyan people and deserves bouquets of credit,” Fann said with admiration. “The William Holden Foundation is another of her many accomplishments.

When The Flor-istry was commissioned to do the Jill and Jim Kelly wedding, Bravo Events built wooden frames to protect the Connecticut Street Armory’s beautiful woodwork and used hundreds of yards of sheer white fabric and twinkling lights to enhance the area.

“The media was very interested in the Kelly wedding plans, but of course, that was strictly confidential,” Fann declared.

“We never discuss our clients’ plans or their budgets. Every wedding - large or small - must be treated as a ‘Kelly’ wedding.”

Quality is the most important part of Fann’s service to the customer. She knows there is always someone waiting in the wings to take her place.

“I tell everyone here, don’t believe your press clippings. If you do, you’re in trouble.”

That is why she trains her employees in the fine quality, old-fashioned methods of floristry.

“Our wedding bouquets are always wired. We never use plastic holders for the flowers.”

Fann speaks of her staff with    deserved pride.

“There is no way you can run these companies without a dedicated staff. Richard Andrzejczak has been with the Floristry for over 20 years. John Hochadel is another integral member of the staff. My son, Tom, along with the talented Bravo staff oversees the display planning division, the computers and the designing of props.”

When clients see her wrinkles and gray hair and know of her experience, they are anxious to discuss exciting plans. Fann’s easy manner, warm smile, vibrant personality and hearty laughter make it clear that humor is an important tool for relaxing people.

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Dinner with the William Holden Foundation staff in Kenya. Pictured clockwise from top left ... Fann, Margaret, James, Tom Markel, Richard, Sam and Ellen Markel.

“After a certain number of years and successful events people start trusting you more,” she quipped.

She has also learned it is very important to listen to a client’s needs and wants. Being very understanding of others’ problems, Fann has gained the ability to calm people in order to make important decisions.

“After all,” she quickly pointed out, “money is being spent for a special occasion. Every event - regardless of size - is special and is important to the host and hostess.”

The Floristry is included in the prestigious book, “Fine Flowers by Phone,” and was named by Bon Appetit magazine as among the best wedding florists in the United States.

As Fann and her troupe travel to prepare and create illusions of fantasy, their thoughts are never far from home.

“I love this city! The people are great and it’s so convenient to work within the city limits,” Fann said. “I consider Buffalo the hub of a wheel and the suburbs it’s spokes. Buffalo must remain viable to secure the future of the area.

“It’s a great place to have a great party and a great place for families to bloom.”

Pat Rooney is a free-lance writer from Boston, NY.
Photos courtesy of Fann Markel.

 

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