Pandemic doesn’t stop local flower shop

Black Tulip celebrates 10 years with new, larger location

Black Tulip Design co-owners Edgar Salazar, center left, and Eric Valdez, center right, stand for a portrait with the rest of their employees while holding the first arrangement they built in their new building at 4651 N. Grandview Avenue.

Since 2011, Eric Valdez and Edgar Salazar have co-owned their flower shop known as Black Tulip Floral Design.

Now, they have started a new chapter with a new location this week to mark the shop’s 10-year anniversary.

This week, Black Tulip is slated to finish moving from its old location at 2119 E. 42nd St., to its new spot at 4651 N. Grandview Ave.

One of the reasons for the change in location, Valdez said, was to accommodate the growth of the store.

“Size had a lot to do with it,” Valdez said. “We were outgrowing our old location.”
Visibility was another reason.

“We’ve been in a location where we didn’t have as high of passing-by traffic,” Valdez said. “Over here, we’re on the street front. It’s a lot better.”

The store’s official 10-year anniversary was on April 25. The transition will come just in time for Mother’s Day, which is Sunday.

A move to a new location can usually bring some chaos for anyone. For Valdez and Salazar, they have had to deal with the same stress that everyone else has had to go through with moving.

“We’re not going to say that it hasn’t been a little stressful at times but we’re picking up our roots and planting them somewhere else,” Valdez said. “It’s been good. We’re on track with the time we want to open.”

The new shop has also required some repair work before this week’s opening with the building having been empty for a long time. It was the former location of the restaurant Vette’s.

“This building has been vacant for 10-plus years,” Valdez said. “A lot of it has been fixing it up and getting it ready to open again.”

However, Valdez and Salazar are excited about the extra space.

“It’s larger,” Valdez said. “We have a larger sales floor and can get more inventory in. That’s pretty good. … We have a bigger cooler. I would say that it’s three-times bigger than our last cooler. Customers just walk in and find what they’re looking for and not have to wait. It’ll be more convenient for the customers.”

Throughout its years of serving the Odessa area, Black Tulip has sold many different floral arrangements from roses to sunflowers to, of course, tulips but the most popular option amongst customers is the designer’s choice, which includes a variety of different flowers.

The late spring and summer months are often a busy time of the year for most florists with high school proms and wedding season in full gear during that frame.
Yet for Black Tulip, business has been booming for most of the calendar.

“We have been busy throughout the whole year,” Salazar said. “We’ve seen that West Texas people love flowers. For us, it used to be that we would have a very busy season for a few months but we’ve been busy year-round and that’s something that we’re really grateful for.”

That includes this past year with the pandemic.

While they were worried at first when COVID-19 became widespread in the United States last spring, Valdez and Salazar said they didn’t see that big of a downturn in business.

“We were able to stay open at the beginning because we fell under the essential business category,” Valdez said. “So, we were able to stay open. It was kind of nice because I think a lot of people were starting to get crazy because they were at home. They couldn’t be with their loved ones and what better way to show that you care than to send flowers and let someone know that you’re thinking of them even if you can’t be with them.”

As for the store’s name, the story behind how Black Tulip came about has a simple explanation: black is Valdez and Salazar’s favorite color and the tulip is their favorite flower.

But the significance of the tulip has a deeper meaning for the store.

“Whenever you go into the meaning of flowers, the tulip itself means true love,” Salazar said. “Black means strength and empowerment. … One of the things that a lot of people don’t know about tulip is that once you cut the tulip and put it in water, it continues to grow and it will always follow the light.

“Whenever we started thinking of the name, we said we wanted to have a meaning that will carry on through generations. It doesn’t matter how many times you get cut in life, you will always continue to grow as the tulip doe. We always follow the light. That’s where the name came.”

As far as what will be different at the store, Valdez says they will still have the same service as they’ve had in the past.

“It will continue to be what Black Tulip has always been,” Valdez said. “There will be some new things that we are looking at with the opening but that’s something that we’re still tailoring.”

The staff at the store has grown to seven people and they also do delivery.

“We’re pretty much a full-service florist,” Valdez said. “We go from your everyday arrangements to weddings and all of that stuff.”

Both owners say their employees have been a key part of shop’s success.

“We have a great team,” Salazar said. “From our designers to our managers and our delivery drivers, to all the people that come in seasonally, and help. We’re very thankful for the team that we have. We’re very proud to say that we have the best team that always has our backs. Team work makes the dream work. Without our team, we wouldn’t make it.”