Flower shop owner stays optimistic despite downtown being labeled “slum”

WARE, Mass. (WWLP) – Downtown Ware has recently been designated as a slum, but one business in the area is still thriving. At Otto Flower Shop, store owner Michele Lariviere admits working in a slum doesn’t sound attractive, but she’s proud of how the store has thrived especially after tragedy.

Back in February, her flower shop was destroyed in a fire, along with a salon and several apartments. After Lariviere relocated to North Street, the old shop is one of several empty store fronts on Main St. It’s also one of the 468 buildings that are deteriorating within the 6-mile slum area.

“I’m in great hopes that they do refurbish Main Street,” she said. “Perhaps we can get back over there at some point, who knows. We just wanted people to know we are still in existence and are going very strongly.”

Ware’s Board of Selectmen voted to designate the downtown business district a slum as a way to help the town collect up to $800,000 in government grants. Town Manager Stuart Beckley told 22News earlier this week that the town is now in the process of applying for those grants.