SARATOGA SPRINGS – Sidney Martin says he is ready for a new phase of the floral arrangement journey that he started years ago in Los Angeles.
“I’m just really looking forward to bringing my talent to Saratoga,” Martin confessed this week, during a tour of his Park Place shop. It is located below ground level at 268 Broadway, one door to the right of Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness.
Martin said he wants to bring “the beauty of what I do on a daily basis to individuals who think that flowers are just flowers. They’re so much more than that.”
A ribbon-cutting event was scheduled on Friday, Nov. 17 to mark the grand opening of Martin’s Simply Sidney Floral Design and Home Accents. From 5 to 9 p.m., members of the public are invited to formally celebrate Martin’s arrival as a city business owner.
At the outset, Martin says he already has made arrangements to employ four or five people on a part-time basis and that he may need “a few more hands” when the bridal season arrives next spring.
Multiple types of decorative home furnishing items will be available for retail purchase in his shop. Martin said he would offer “a mix of new and inventive” products that will “constantly be refreshed.” He was excited to show bars of soap that “look like gems” made by a company in Oneonta.
Whenever possible, Martin added, he will aim to support local producers. “We’ve all got to support each other or else it’s just not worth it,” he said.
Clearly, though, floral arrangements will be Martin’s bread and butter. The back half of his shop is walled off as a space for the large metal tables and a flower cooler that define his main production area.
Saratoga Springs is “definitely a prime market for florists,” offered Rich Coogan, a sales representative and cut-flower buyer for the wholesale Bill Doran Company in Albany. Martin gets most of his flowers from the Bill Doran Co.
Coogan called Martin “an extraordinary designer,” adding that the wholesaler plans to help him be “as successful as he can be.”
Originally from a small town in northeast Georgia, Martin explained that his passion for flowers was related to the fact that his grandmother and mother are “huge gardeners.”
In his youth, Martin was fond of producing artistic sketches and paintings of flowers. Then, as he pursued various different work opportunities, Martin eventually met a man who revealed to him “the meat and potatoes” of the floral arrangement industry.
In 2000, Martin relocated to California and “really started coming into my own,” staying there for 11 years. Every new opportunity elevated his experience, he said, and the “creativity” of the numerous designers he worked for further bolstered his interest in the wider floral industry.
The highlights of his time in California include producing floral displays for popular films and television series, such as “Princess Diaries,” “Legally Blonde 2,” “Spider Man 2,” “The West Wing,” “Desperate Housewives” and “The Office.”
For three years, Martin also prepared displays for the Golden Globes, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Hollywood Film Festival.
Yet Los Angeles “gets really heavy,” Martin said. “After 11 years of being there I was just burned out.”
Martin explained that his husband, public relations specialist Tas Steiner, hails from Loudonville, which brought the couple to the Capital Region for family visits or recreational excursions to lakes and the Saratoga Race Course.
“There was something about Saratoga that I just loved,” Martin said. The couple eventually agreed to rent property on Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs.
Steiner worked closely with Tracy Strann, the former chief marketing officer for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, who started her own public relations firm this year.
Strann conducts media outreach for Simply Sidney Floral Design and other popular city businesses, including the newly renovated Adelphi Hotel.
Martin, though busily making his final arrangements for the Nov. 17 ribbon cutting, was eager to open his new Broadway shop.
“Yeah,” he said, “it just seems like this is the perfect little spot for my first foray into the business world.”
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