Not long after she graduated from U-M in 2015, Dani Vignos bought the little flower shop in Nickels Arcade. She’d been looking for a local business to buy, a friend told her this one was for sale, and she was able to get a loan to complete the deal. She says it has taken more than a year to make the significant changes she wanted, and the recent hanging of the new exterior University Flower Shop sign (same name, different logo) feels like a milestone in building a “sustainable” small business.

“I go a couple times a week to local Michigan farms to do cuttings of fresh flowers,” says Vignos, a San Francisco native. Even in the winter, when she relies mostly on wholesalers for fresh flowers, she stocks dried Michigan plants like lavender and thistle as well as fresh local greenery. The sweet little clay pots of healthy-looking succulents and herbs, which she says are popular with dorm and apartment dwellers, are mostly propagated in-state.

Vignos, twenty-three, says she and her three employees value creativity in their work with bouquets and arrangements as well as getting to know customers’ desires. “We understand that flowers are tokens of appreciation and affection,” she says. “Students come in for friends’ birthday gifts, and we know a lot of Ann Arbor boyfriends and what their girlfriends like.”

Vignos acknowledges her work might not seem like the obvious choice for an English major with a criminal justice minor. She smiles as she explains she’s “good at communications,” a skill set that she says is useful for her multifaceted business. “We’re doing special events, weddings, contracts with restaurants–pretty much everything but funerals,” she says. She’s not against funerals–“they are supposedly moneymakers, but we’re busy with the work and staff we have.”

University Flower Shop, 7 Nickels Arcade, 668-8098. Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.