Mike Anderson, Deseret News
BRIGHAM CITY — A local florist found a way to honor his grandmother and brighten the day of those in assisted living centers by simply giving flowers.
Brigham City businessman Kyle Kanno owns Afton's Floral. The shop is named after Kanno’s grandmother, Afton Darnell, who loved gardening. She died of cancer in 2008.
“Naming the shop after her was a way of honoring her memory and honoring the good will that she did,” Kanno said.
Darnell was a resident of Country Lane Assisted Living. Kanno said he visited her often. She was one of the fortunate residents who had visitors on almost a daily basis, he said.
But Kanno noticed there were residents who weren't receiving visitors.
He opened Afton's Floral a year ago, and six months later he started the Forget Me Not program to let people know they are not forgotten.
"We designed this program so that we could bring flowers down to the residents on a weekly basis, so they always had something in their room that was fresh and alive and adds some color,” Kanno said. “It's flowers that we wouldn't necessarily be able to sell, but we want them to go to a good home, where somebody can appreciate them.”
Each week, Afton's Floral delivers flowers to several assisted living centers in Brigham City. The shop goes through about 200 flowers a week, each in small individual vases.
"Flowers have always been associated with good will or love or sympathy," Kanno said. "There's a lot of emotion tied up behind flowers."
He said Darnell was fond of the phrase “waste not, want not.” Recycling flowers that would be discarded is Kanno’s way of continuing that tradition, he said.
Garrett Rasband, who has worked for Afton’s Floral since it opened, said he loves his job and delivering the flowers.
"It's always happy,” Rasband said. “You stop by and say, 'Hey, here's your flowers for the week,' and the people are always really nice and say, 'Oh, thank you very much.' It's fun to see the smiles."
The program helps assisted living center residents such as Ruth Adams get something special and know that someone cares.
"It brightens your day to see that flower and watch it bloom," Adams said.
Delivering the flowers also provides people with one more visitor each week.
Kanno is working on expanding the program to reach more people who are homebound.
“We want them to know that they’re not forgotten either,” he said.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc
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