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Monday, June 20, 2011

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Richard Arlen Salome Jr., Master Florist

This Mover and Shaker interview is brought to you by Peachy's Sweet Deals:
Be sure to visit Cosmopolitan Dental, Sistina, Caravaggio and Cutler Salon to measurably improve your life!

Richard Arlen Salome Jr. was born on August 7, 1950 at Wright Paterson Air force Base in Dayton, Ohio & Rick was the 4th child in his family. He had 1 brother & 2 older sisters. His mother was a stay-at-home homemaker back in those days. His father was a career military man retiring after 30 years of service to our country & then moving on into the private sector.  The Colonel (his father) was transferred almost every 2-3 years as he ascended in in rank. From Ohio to England, England to France & back to the States in 1954, his last transfer was to Massachusetts where Richard completed Jr. High & High School with above average grades & a profound interest in the arts, especially music & the theater.  He was in school plays since he was 6, & in a rock band in high school called “The Music Bachs”.

Richard went on to Austin College in Sherman, Texas & completed his double major in Communications (Theater) & Psychology, acquiring a B.A. degree. On summer breaks during college he apprenticed at “Summer Stock & Regional theaters, also doing some acting at The Harvard “Loeb Drama Center” & a touring theater company for 1 year. 

Finally settling in New York City, NY. at the age of 23 he found some work Off Off Broadway & wrote the music and choreographed a play for “The Lion Theater Company" on West 42nd Street. Theater didn‘t pay much in those days so Richard had to supplement his income. He found work at a florist & fell in love with the whole concept of floral design. It was the creative outlet he needed & was meant to do. He met his wife Lorraine while working for another florist. Two years later they were married.  

 In 1980 they opened their business with a small loan from his father. Richard Salome Flowers Inc. was established on September 1st 1980. Four years later they had their only child Richard A. Salome III.  They have had their ups & downs but had remained on “Zagets” list of the top ten florists in New York almost since the day they opened & he’s still here... “Flowering The World From The City That Never Sleeps”

We are pleased to present Richard Salome as our latest Mover and Shaker!

Peachy Deegan interviewed Richard Salome for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What first ignited your love of the arts? 
Richard Salome: Learning to play guitar & reading & performing Shakespeare.

How did growing up with your family in the military affect you most profoundly? 
I learned about self discipline, dedication, honor & a healthy work ethic.

Of all of your artistic endeavors, what have you enjoyed the most about each? 
My first love has been writing music, both music & lyrics. The enjoyment is on a whole other level unlike anything else I do. It takes me into an almost euphoric, dreamlike state.

What should most Manhattanites know about flowers that most do not? 
That the quality of the street vendors, delis, grocery stores, etc. is equal to the price they charge.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a top florist? 
I never want to be considered the best, just one of the most passionate florists. The challenge is the amount of hours it takes to maintain the level I strive to attain. 

If someone wants to learn how to arrange, do you teach classes? 
I have considered giving summer classes only, after working hours. That is, after 5:00 PM. The best way to learn is by coming in like the apprentices from the NY Botanical Gardens. They are welcome to come in & help anytime. Monday - Sat from 9 AM - 5 PM. Dress casual will get dirty. 

What kinds of flowers are the most difficult to acquire? 
Any flower that is out of season in Holland, South America, New Zealand, Australia, California Japan or locally is troublesome. Someone asked for lilac this week. It's out of season. But, I found a bale in Canada & had it shipped in for the event. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
My mother & father & my mentor from the first flower shop I worked in. His name was Jaime Cordona. The best floral designer I ever knew.

What are you proudest of and why? 
Surviving this recession through prayer, sacrifice & a wonderful crew here at the store.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? Produce my music

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
Years ago there was a NY Flower Show & we won 2nd place for our floral design. Trump Tower had a flower show many years ago. We won 1st place for our floral display which was a small displayed area including all sorts of accessories & furniture. We have also won honors at the "Teleflora" wire services conventions.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
At work & at home with my wife.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
Dylan's Candy Bar 

What is your favorite drink? Iced tea, Red wine (Merlot)

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
When leaving I walked into a closet thinking it was the front door. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
"Flex Mussels" 

What is your favorite Manhattan book? 
Any historical book with photos of old New York.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
A bench in Central Park or at the New York Botanical Gardens.

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Running in the park & exercising.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
Experience the best production of theater on Broadway.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
Seeing Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden & designing flowers for the Museum of Natural History when they reopened the Planetarium 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
Provided many charitable organizations with floral displays for their events. The latest one was for The Komen House for the cure. 

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here? 
People are not fully aware of how small businesses throughout Manhattan are struggling to survive. Support your local businesses. I think meteoric "Trendy" items are overrated. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? New Column: Fabulous Food Trucks. I'm on the go on a daily basis & it's nice to know where you can get a quick food fix when your out on "go sees" or delivering flowers or events.

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not? 
Not yet , but I'll give it a try.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
That they are welcome to stop by & meet myself, my wife Lorraine & the staff anytime Monday - Saturday from 9-5 PM

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 

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