Diane Rowell came to the Alabama SBDC at the University of North Alabama over 25 years ago with her sister, who was looking at starting a business. Diane, at that time, was doing home décor shows in homes and starting her own business was a long-range goal. She used the start-up information obtained from her trip to the SBDC, and over the next several years spent time doing research, planning and working to obtain her goal of starting her own business. In August 1995, Diane opened Something Ele’Gant Florals and Gifts (the first black-owned floral shop in Florence) in leased store-front space on East Tuscaloosa Street in downtown Florence. After five years at that location, the business had outgrown the space and she moved the business to a location on North Court Street; five years later the business had outgrown that space and moved to a few blocks down the street—still on North Court. The business was housed at this location until recently. Diane has now moved to property she purchased a couple of years ago, with plans to expand the business to add a new event center on the property. At various time during these business expansions, Diane has met with the SBDC to discuss her plans as she set new goals and made decisions to relocate and purchase property with this ultimate goal in mind.
Diane is a member of both the Alabama and Tennessee Floral Associations. She has hosted her own bridal show for ten years and has participated in Now & Forever Bridal Show with the TimesDaily. She has a customer base of over 800 and they order from all over the United States. She decorates and supplies flowers for weddings and special events throughout the Southeast, traveling to different venues. Her ultimate goal has been to have her own venue for these events and to fulfill a need in the community. This goal is coming to fruition now. She has moved to her new property and the SBDC is working with her in planning for the new venue; plans have been made and work is in process to work toward obtaining funding for construction of an event center at this new location.
Diane focuses on achieving goals she sets for her business and her activities in giving back to the community, as can be seen in the direction her business has taken throughout the years. She is actively involved in the community. Diane is the advisor of a high school girl’s (grades 10-12) social club—Zuri, which was started in 2003. Over 500 girls have come through this mentoring program; the club provides seminars and workshops to train young girls to become great young ladies. She has also served in several organizations, such as Florence City Beautification Board, Free Health Clinic, Main Street Development Corporation and Handy Head-start Programs. For 22 years Diane has served as host to the Handy’s Night of Talent (part of the W.C. Handy Music festival, as well as being a winner of the W.C. Handy Street Strut and Parade and the Grand Marshall of the Handy Festival; she also sponsored a young group of girls from ages 3 -12 years called the Handy’s Quad Steppers,
Diane has been the recipient of many awards, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award, the Alpha Phi Alpha Community Award, Handy Headstart Youth award and has been featured in the TimesDaily’s Shoals Woman Magazine and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s 2017 Spotlight on Excellence calendar, which honors individuals born or living the Shoals who have made a difference by his/her contributions to mankind. Diane is on the planning committee for Smiling Faces Photography’s “Pink Alabama” luncheon. Smiling Faces Photography, for the last five years has provided those who battled or are currently battling cancer a free portrait of themselves. This year a luncheon has been planned in their honor.
Diane and her husband, Alexander, have two sons, Theus and Thadeus, who have followed in their Mother’s footsteps as business owners. She is a member of Christ Chapel Church and takes care of all the floral needs for the church and members. Diane is looking forward to what lies ahead in this new phase of her business.