A South Side Chicago Business Owner Wants His Neighborhood’s Flower Business To Thrive


Flowers are being used by an Englewood businessman to foster community.

Ryan Baker of CBS 2 met a South Side company owner whose life ambition is to help young people grow.

At first sight, no one would predict what’s inside a small building near 62nd and Morgan, but once inside, they can smell the flowers and relax.

“We’re growing beautiful flowers right here in Englewood,” Quilen Blackwell, co-founder of Chicago Eco House/Southside Blooms, said.

That’s correct, Southside Blooms in Englewood, where roses bloom from the pavement.

This is the inner city,” Baker says. Many people would not consider this to be fertile ground for establishing a thriving, pun intended, flower company.”

“Right, Blackwell.” It’s similar to Derrick Rose. People didn’t think you could have a player of his caliber from a place like this, and then he goes on to become a tremendous MVP, which is a beautiful little allegory for what we’re trying to do here.”

Blackwell and his wife, co-founder Hannah, are attempting to establish a community and alleviate poverty. They own and operate five small flower farms on the South and West edges of the city.

We’re like, wait a minute, we have all this vacant land right here in our city,” said Blackwell. “Why can’t we grow those flowers here?

And they did, making gorgeous buds and colorful masterpieces for events at the city’s best venues. According to Blackwell, they make items for weddings, business events, and retail deliveries.

They’re also sowing the seed for young people to have promising careers by teaching them the craft and then seeing them blossom.

Blackwell goes on to say, “There are many young people here who are incredibly talented, incredibly gifted who have MVP-level skills.

Baker goes on to say, “They just need the opportunity.”

“Exactly,” says Blackwell. They require the opportunity. They require assistance and a platform, which is exactly what Southside Blooms provides.”

I was just like, I mean, working on a farm ain’t my thing,” Dionta White explained. “In particular, in Englewood?” “I say, ‘Nah.'”

However, White quickly changed his mind about working at Southside Blooms.

My first day, when I started getting my hands dirty and seeing a vacant lot turn into a whole flower farm, it was just life-changing,” he told me.

Talk about life-altering events, Blackwell’s life had many unexpected twists and turns. He grew up in a wealthy household in Madison, Wisconsin, and moved to Chicago to attend theological school after serving in the Peace Corps.

To come back to the United States and see how bad it was here, I’m like, ‘Man, we need to do something about this,'” Blackwell said. ‘To come up with a solution to bring these communities back to life.'”

The Blackwells felt that the best way to help Englewood come back to life was to live there rather than just work there.

“We’re fully committed to it,” Blackwell said. “It’s critical that we reside here. I have three children. They are developing here. “So, this is my life.”

Blackwell notices the irony.

“My grandfather was a sharecropper in Arkansas,” he told me. “My mom has commented it’s kind of funny, because you look at our family history, and we did everything we could to get out away from the farms.”

Blackwell would have none of it any other way.

“This is bigger than just a job,” he explained. “This is my life’s calling.”

And he’s assisting his Englewood neighbors in discovering their purpose.

“I converted a vacant lot into a flower farm.” “I was a real part of it,” he claimed. “Southside Blooms has the potential to make a difference in the community where I grew up.” I’m confident I can do it as well. “I want to see Englewood change, and I want to be a part of it.”

She said, “I feel like Southside Bloom has become more of a symbol of hope for the neighborhood.

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