The Manhattan Sideways team was captivated by the inside of La Fleur from the moment we stepped inside. The atmosphere was bright and welcoming, with vibrant flower arrangements liberally displayed throughout the shop and an array of vases lining the shelves. We were instantly greeted by the charming members of the staff, who did not hesitate to chat with us about La Fleur. We were surprised to learn that Louis, the store’s owner, had not always planned on entering the floral design industry. In fact, he had studied Hotel and Service Management and worked for internationally recognized corporations including Hilton Hotels and Starbucks. It was not until 2004 that he decided to complete a certification course in floristry at New York Botanical Garden. Soon afterward, he apprenticed at some of the top flower shops in the city, including Ariston and L’Olivier. He opened Harlem Flo, his first independent venture as a florist, on 122nd Street. In 2016, this was replaced by La Fleur d’Harlem, the newest iteration of the business, on 144th Street. His move has proven to be successful. Over the past few years, Louis has had the opportunity to provide arrangements for everything from lavish weddings to casual anniversary bouquets. In addition, Louis and his team have enjoyed designing small floral terraces throughout the city and traveling outside of Manhattan to provide flowers for special events in the Hamptons, New Jersey, and upstate. One of his favorite projects was a Citbank sign made out of flowers. Louis explained that his focus has always been on service - "understanding and learning each customer's preferences and needs. " He is pro-active in letting clients know what is available, showing them what he can do, and working within their budgets. "I always try to manage people's expectations, delivering the best I can for them. "