Two years after starting his business, Flowers by Mike owner Mike Graham is already seeing the fruits of his labor. Earlier this month, the business was voted the best flower shop on Long Island in Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s Best of Long Island 2021 contest.
“It’s just amazing that the community’s been so influential to us, and they’ve been really behind us and keeping us going, and I just can’t thank them enough,” Graham said. “The support and the buying local is there, it’s coming, we see it, and it’s just a great thing to see the community come out and to win a big award with only two years in business.”
Graham opened his shop, at 221 Merrick Road in Oceanside, in January 2018, with the goal of being involved in the community. Last April he launched a second Flowers by Mike shop at 338 Atlantic Ave. in East Rockaway.
According to the contest website, Best of Long Island is “a roadmap to the best, top-notch businesses and services throughout both Nassau and Suffolk counties,” including restaurants, shops and family-run businesses. The residents and patrons who rely on the businesses determine the winners by voting on the contest’s website.
Mike D’Ambrosio, of Oceanside, said he often shops at Flowers by Mike because it not only offers quality arrangements, but also Graham is community-minded. “He’s one of us, so I can’t say enough about the good things he does,” D’Ambrosio said. “The part that excites me is the fact that as a customer, you can’t get a better florist, but at the end of the day, what the guy gives back to the community is more important.”
Graham is a lifelong Oceansider, and attended School No. 3 and Oceanside middle and high schools. He has volunteered in the Oceanside Fire Department for more than 15 years, and is involved in many organizations, including the Oceanside Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Oceanside with his wife, Rachel, and their daughter, Rylie.
Graham called it “amazing” to earn the honor, adding that there were 1.6 million votes cast in the contest overall, but he was unsure how many were for his shop.
The business has also given back to the community in many ways, including at the height of the pandemic in April, when the shop donated 50 arrangements to seniors at the Oceanside Care Center and dropped flowers on stoops of random strangers’ homes throughout Oceanside and East Rockaway. Additionally, the shop offered carnations to a woman who was placing them on nurses’ cars at hospitals, including Mount Sinai South Nassau, to show support for front-line workers.