MILFORD — The grand opening of Cookie’s Paper Petals, a decorative paper flower store on Milford’s Southwest Front Street, was a family affair.
The small but lively celebration Aug. 8 included four generations of owner Anastasia Jackson’s family, including her two daughters, her mother and her grandfather, David Morrison Jr.
“We call her Cookie,” Mr. Morrison said. “My ex-wife, Fanny was her name, she gave Anastasia the nickname Cookie, and it stuck.”
When the Milford native’s grandmother died about three years ago, Ms. Jackson was feeling down. Prayer led her to take solace in trying out different types of arts and crafts. She made wreaths for a little while and tried crocheting, but eventually, she fell in love with making paper flowers.
“One of my friends shared one of the pictures I had on Facebook, and a lady out in Texas wanted 200 flowers,” Ms. Jackson said. “That was pretty much the beginning of Cookie’s Paper Petals turning into a business.”
From there, her social media savvy allowed her business to take off. Ms. Jackson has made paper flowers for events all over the country and was scheduled to do a lot of traveling, craft conferences and lessons this year before COVID-19 hit.
Back in May 2019, she was on WBOC’s DelmarvaLife demonstrating how to make paper flowers and has made arrangements for the likes of rapper Cardi B’s manicurist and “Project Runway” winner Ashley Tipton.
“I’m actually the first paper flower shop on the East Coast, the second in the United States,” Ms. Jackson said. “I don’t have any competition here. There’s a couple of other paper florists that do YouTube videos and stuff, but they don’t actually have it as a business.”
When Ms. Jackson was looking to open up a retail store, her friends, Angie and Rous Robles, the owners of My Sister’s Fault, a Puerto Rican-style eatery also on Southwest Front Street, tipped her off about an open space in their building. Ms. Jackson jumped on the opportunity.
“I’m so proud of her. We cannot wait,” Angie said. “It’s like such an amazing thing that you’re my neighbor. … I couldn’t love it any more.”
Ms. Jackson said she and her husband renovated the space themselves. The front of the store is a retail area with numerous bouquets, arrangements and other floral crafts Ms. Jackson has for sale. In the back, there’s a workshop with enough space for Ms. Jackson to teach socially distanced lessons.
Classes will be offered today at 2 p.m. and Thursday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 and available for purchase on the website. There is also the option to participate virtually.
He said the lessons will cover the technique involved in making the most basic flower.
Mr. Jackson said he helps his wife with the business wherever he is needed. He’s in charge of the website, cookiespaperpetals.com, and helps to cut petals. He also said Ms. Jackson’s daughters, Tyasia and Trinity Hicks, who are 13 and 10 respectively, also help out.
Mr. Morrison said his granddaughter is not the first in her family to own a successful business.
“She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. There are several people in my family, starting with my father,” he said, who “had a well-driving business that he operated back in the ‘70s.”
Mr. Morrison underlined the need to support African American businesses.
“As we know, African American businesses are few and far between, and it’s something I think that the neighborhood needs and also something we as a race of people need,” he said. “It’s not just for African Americans, but it’s an African American-owned business, and that’s one of the things we want to emphasize.”
Some locals in attendance offered their support as the business opened.
“I just wanted to come out and see the ribbon-cutting,” said Stu Barr of Milford, who was there with his 2-year-old son, Quentin. “There’s a new business in town, so we’ve got to come out, see what they’re all about and support local.”
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