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Back home, Tray Anderson opens store in Sylvania
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Tray Anderson, center, cuts the ribbon at his Southern Floral & Landscape Designs shop. - photo by CRYSTAL WALKER/Staff

      SYLVANIA - The Screven County Chamber of Commerce welcomed Tray Anderson back to Sylvania last week during a ribbon cutting and an open house at his newly opened Southern Floral & Landscape Designs, Inc.
      After growing up mostly in the Sylvania area, Anderson went attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the Georgia in Athens. He earned a degree in horticulture and landed a job with Disney World in Orlando.
      A 10-month internship in landscaping turned into a three and a half year stint where Anderson had the opportunity to redesign one of the "countries" as part of the Epcot Center at Disney.
      It was then, Anderson said, he realized what he really wanted to do was design, rather than the everyday tasks of landscaping.
      A couple of wedding gigs turned into a couple more, he said, and before he knew it, his business of floral design had snowballed. Anderson said it seemed like the right time to pack things up and move back to Sylvania, and in the midst of all the weddings, he opened the store on North Main Street.
      Aside from being a full-service florist, available for all holidays and occasions, Southern Floral also carries various gifts and locally made products.
      "We try to partner mostly with local businesses," Anderson said.
      Southern Floral is the first business Wade Plantation has selected to be an in-store point of purchase, he said. Located almost at the South Carolina line, he said this is a way to make Wade's products available right in Sylvania. This holiday season, most all Wade pecan products will be available for purchase at Southern Floral, from chocolate-covered to praline pecans, as well as their pies, he said.
      Anderson said his store also will use the products of Pinewood Embers of Sylvania to design personalized gift boxes.
Braswell's products of Statesboro are also available, and he said Southern Floral is one of the few local businesses to carry Yankee Candle products.
      "I watched him grow up," said Karen Thompson of the Downtown Development Authority at Friday's ribbon cutting.
      Thompson said Southern Floral, and Anderson's business move to Sylvania is an asset to the community.