LACIE SILVA – Editor
In 2022, Andy Campbell, owner and founder, brought about his long-time dream of owning his own storefront, and created “On Occasion,” for all events and occasions.
In the unique world of this dedicated artisan, you won’t find the personalized touch in any franchise or off-the-shelf catalog. Campbell specializes in crafting pieces tailored especially for weddings and funerals, with the intention of reflecting the unique essence of the individual they commemorate. Emphasizing the importance of integrating personal elements, he seeks to capture the entirety of a person’s character. Notably, he enthusiastically encourages the inclusion of cherished old items, dubbing himself “I’m just a vehicle for making this happen.” Although he lacks formal professional training, he relies on his innate talents and interpersonal skills. He deeply understands that the relationship between the customer and the creator is paramount. His philosophy revolves around the belief that nothing ever truly goes out of style if it can be repurposed, and he actively encourages customers to revisit and reinvent their most cherished items. Moreover, he offers discounts for returning clients at his own discretion, further fostering enduring customer relationships.
Campbell lived and grew up in the Jasper area. He attended Jasper Elementary School and continued his education in the area up through college. As he remembers his childhood, he has roots deeply centered in the community. Many home and family businesses and a few bigger business connections, were popular with his granny and parents as they all went places and to the big events of visiting the big city. Campbell described family businesses survive when supported by the community and when they reach out to keep supporting the community and other family businesses in the area. With these deep connections across generations, much like everyone in a small town, Campbell expressed his deepest satisfaction and fulfillment in giving back to his community.
In 1994 Campbell started working for a multinational technology company and moved to the DC area. Up to a little over two years ago, Campbell worked and developed himself in many areas. Across this time he worked on his hobby and passion projects in his free time, developing flower arrangements for friends as a creative outlet. He moved back during COVID and decided that while consulting and doing personal orders, he wanted something to reintegrate himself into the community.
After starting work at a retail home improvement store, Campbell quickly fell back into his small town community driven life gaining traction and revitalizing his connections. Campbell continued to dedicate his time crafting specialty arrangements for family and friends, and community members by word of mouth. Additionally, Campbell has supported churches and other community organizations in the area with holiday and festive arrangements. In reflecting, Campbell recounted two Valentine’s Days past where he learned the hard way and struggled to keep up but never wavered in his dedication to his craft or promises.
He learned through his challenges and failures that his main focus needed to be the customer. Furthermore he explained he focused on providing the best products possible. Despite some late orders, as Campbell stated, customers were understanding and have even continued coming back. Some customers have been here since the beginning. These struggles have only made his business better to keep doing more and giving better service to the community. Campbell puts all his energy and passion into his work and it shows. Connecting with the community and being honest with customers even when failing and having a late order is part of community driven customer service work.
Campbell explained he was drawn back to his home and said that “God has a way of putting you where you’re needed.” While at the home store, Campbell also created special arrangements for Lou’s Chapel. He recounted his experience delivering an Easter arrangement and arrived just before dawn in time for him to observe as the sun rose over the horizon. This alongside support from the community solidified for Campbell that he was doing what he was meant to do.
Jan Thomas, a longtime customer said Campbell “does the most beautiful work for funeral services” designing and being dedicated to the customers, “it’s the greatest thing in the world, (him) coming back here.”
Campbell described himself as just one piece of the arrangement in the community and that “every day is different” as he wants to tailor the arrangements to the customer. He sources his products from wholesalers in Chattanooga and local sellers who are likewise family owned and run businesses. Further detailing his roots, Campbell explained how he learned from his granny and other family businesses to support his fellow community members. He described a family business in which they raised their children above the store and relayed that this has always been part of his dream. An element of having his own children engaged in the store or somehow involved being able to take over the business and continue as a tradition. Therefore, building a fixture of the community to last well beyond him.
The newly actualized storefront for ‘On Occasion,’ has grown from a home-based business operated out of Campbell’s garage to a small shop. However, he has never stopped living and breathing the art he develops. Campbell expressed his desire to grow further and expand. Further detailing hopes to hire people for more help and provide more jobs in the community.
Campbell describes his process from start to finish as an integral part of his work. From taking the order to creation and ending with delivery is a whole circle of working and putting his heart into the orders. He stated, “The look on people’s faces is the greatest satisfaction.” As Campbell further detailed, the store “it’s my passion project.”
Everything represents the work he is bringing to the community, from inside the store to the exterior. The interior is a multipurpose family friendly and cozy office space with oldies music playing at all times. Campbell stated that he wants everyone to be able to see his work as if it were already in their own home and to be comfortable during difficult times to come together and easily make arrangements such as for funeral services. The flower arrangements serve as a sneak peek into his dedication to his craft, demonstrating his commitment to his work. The exterior of the shop is a testament to his passion, showcasing his active involvement in the community. Its design came after visiting his bucket list place in Edinburgh, Scotland.
From emotionally trying times and all special occasions in between, On Occasion is here for it all. As Campbell stated, “A celebration of one’s life is with flowers.”
The Marion Tribune – October 26, 2023