Flower shop, dance studio thriving

CHICAGO Fifteen years ago, single mom Mari-Carmen Maranghi decided to go into business for herself and opened Jolie Fleur flower boutique on Rush Street. Marenghi and her staff say they pride themselves on detail. In addition to being open to the public, at her plant she also does floral arrangements for weddings, corporate America and events.

"I was scary at the beginning, but once you start, it just goes," said Maranghi.

Maranghi, the former wife of a diplomat, was raised in Mexico City, and once lived in Chicago and Washington D.C. She decided to return to our city to start a new life following her divorce.

"People here in this country are wonderful. It's a great opportunity for women, for single women. It's a great opportunity to start any kind of business," said Maranghi.

Eight years ago, Sol Solis and Maricza Valentin decided to take their friendship to a business level when they opened Latin Rhythms Academy of Dance and Performance in the West Loop.

"It's great to have the passion and the idea, but you definitely want to make sure you do your homework first," Solis said.

"Any business relationship with a firend is a pretty challenging one. You have to learn to be direct and very honest with each other," said Valentin.

The dance studio with a staff of professional instructors offers more than 50 different classes six days a week, Monday through Saturday. The owners say they share their passion and love for dance.

"I love waking up daily and knowing that I own my own business and I'm my own business owner," Valentin said. "But most importantly, I love waking up daily and being very hapy about what I do."

"I love seeing and witnessing how they're all feeling great about themselves and meeting new people and I definitely recommend people do what they love," Solis said.

The women say their focus is on making Latin Rhythms students the best dancers they can be..

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