Family-owned floral business provides numerous work opportunities for individuals placed by ProAct in eagan

Highlighting the importance of employer partnerships to improve the lives of people with disabilities, ProAct, Inc. in Eagan presented a 2019 Business Partner of the Year award to Design n Bloom, a family-owned florist in Eagan.

Design n Bloom has provided special flower arrangements for nearly 20 years. It hired several individuals from ProAct to help operate the shop that produces its decorative and aromatic creations.

The company was honored before a crowd of about 400 at ProAct’s Annual Recognition Banquet at Envision Event Center in Oakdale on September 27. Kenow’s husband Steve, who assists with the business, spoke about the individuals from ProAct who work for the florist.

“There’s an enthusiasm for getting the job done, no matter what it is. We want to applaud all of you for that,” said Kenow, who also works a separate job in the business sector.

“Finding employees who come to work on time, happy to be there and excited is rare these days. It’s just a joy to be able to be part of this and know that everyone has something to contribute. Thank you.”

ProAct President and CEO Steve Ditschler said partners like Design n Bloom are wonderful examples who work closely with the nonprofit to provide opportunities for the people it serves. “We are grateful for their role in enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities.”

Company Owner Gayle Kenow said her home-based flower business saw changes after flower shops in the area began closing. “We’ve been growing, that’s for sure,” she said.

Several individuals from ProAct help her with cleaning, floral wrapping, and organization. There are job coaches, as well, and Steve Kenow sometimes assists with deliveries in the evening.

The floral designer with a bubbly demeanor said she treats others the way she wants to be treated. “We’re all a team here,” said Kenow. “Those who come here are so considerate. We’ve never had any worries.” The business has operated since 2001.

ProAct Employment Development Manager Anna Cahak said Kenow recognizes the strengths of individuals from ProAct and supports them in their employment goals. “She provides continued partnership and outstanding support of employment opportunities for individuals looking to gain community employment,” said Cahak.

ProAct, Inc. offers person-centered services that enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. It is headquartered in Eagan and has additional operations in Red Wing, Shakopee, Zumbrota and in Hudson, Wis.

Photo: ProAct Business Services Manager Mary McGeheran, above left and CEO Steve Ditschler, right, present ProAct’s Business Partner of the Year Award to Design n Bloom owner Gayle Kenow and her husband, Steve Kenow. Located in Eagan, the floral business has operated since 2001 and employs several individuals with disabilities.