Art of Aging: Carl Alan Floral Designs still creating beautiful arrangements a century later

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Valentine's Day is the single busiest day of the year for florists across the country. And flowers may be a hot-ticket item on this holiday.

But for one Center City florist, flowers are much more than a one-day affair. His family has been making arrangements and keeping it fresh for a century.

Carl Schwartz has spent a lifetime in the floral industry.

"Actually, in floral design, you learn a dozen roses before you can walk," he said.

You might say it's in his blood. At almost 70, he's blossomed in the family business, which has been around for 100 years.

"My grandfather started it in October of 1918," said Carl, who is now the president of Carl Alan Floral Designs.

The original shop was on Chestnut Street, about 5 blocks from Carl Alan Floral Designs' current location on Market Street.

"I started working for my grandfather and mother and father when I was a kid," said Carl. "I have memories of making, in those days corsage boxes weren't plastic, they were cardboard. So my job for $5 a day, it was 10 hours I worked, was making corsage boxes."

In 1967, he took over the business, along with his parents and brother, Alan.

"I'm the third generation. It's very special," said Carl.

Carl evolved with industry changes, but never changed what he does best.

"We do every type of floral arrangement imaginable," he said.

They design 500 events per year in the Philadelphia region and decorate up to 300 weddings.

"We use nothing but the best flowers," said Carl.

It's that personal touch and attention to detail that has earned awards and brought success.

"I think the most important thing about the business is a vision. Brides have an idea, but it's our job to bring it to fruition," he said.

Carl's passion is what sets him apart. He still works 6 or 7 days a week.

"For 52 years I've been excited. I can't wait to start another day," he said.

"It's amazing, he is absolutely incredible, the energy - it's all energy," said Vito Russo, Vice President of Carl Alan Floral Designs.

For Carl, it's about passion, perfection, dedication, and people.

"My grandfather always taught me if you make a friend out of a customer or client, you'll have a friend for life," he said. "And that's what we do."

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