Travel advisors help navigate COVID

With summer approaching, people already are making travel plans for upcoming vacations.

However, travelers need to be aware of travel restrictions outside of the United States, warned Jim O’Brien, owner and travel advisor with his home-based Achieve Your Dream Travel in Farragut.

“There are limitations,” he said. “Various nations around the world had put a stop to non-essential, leisure travel.

“On the first of February, the government of France issued a prohibition for leisure or non-essential travel to the French overseas territories … French Polynesia (such as the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora),” O’Brien added.

Jamaica had changed its restrictions, he said, “so if by chance (a traveler) contracted COVID while they were in Jamaica, they would be quarantined by the Jamaican government wherever the Jamaican government wanted to put them for upward of two weeks,” he said.

“But there are other countries (such as Mexico) where they have gone way out of their way to do everything they possibly can to provide top customer service to their clients,” O’Brien said.

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Coming up roses, peonies

Sandy Floral Design offers walls for all special occasions

Sandy Saah and husband, Alexander Saah, have launched a new event rental business, Sandy Floral Design, catering to weddings and other special events.

The business, with a showroom at The Julianna, 9111 Hunter Valley Lane off Northshore Drive, provides clients with a highly curated rental collection of silk floral walls.

“Sandy Floral Design is the first and only business in the entire state of Tennessee that offers couture silk flower walls, so we feel it is a much-needed niche,” said Sandy, the designer, who added, “No two walls are alike; they each consist of different flowers.”

Clients can choose from roses, orchids, peonies and hydrangea among many others.

“I handcraft the walls with only the highest quality of silk flowers,” Sandy said. “My husband and I travel to different states to get our materials.”

She designs the walls for weddings, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, birthday parties, corporate events, fundraisers and rehearsal dinners among others, as well as for home and office interior customers.

The Saahs launched their silk floral wall business April 9.

“I feel good (about the business),” Sandy said. “It’s exciting. I’m truly passionate about what I do.”

Sandy is the mastermind behind the floral design while Alexander masterminds the architectural structures. Together, they make the perfect team as a husband-and-wife duo.

The idea came about after the Saahs’ own wedding.

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business briefs

• Mike Brown, president/CEO of M&M Productions USA, recently was selected to be a member of a chief executive advisory board in Knoxville by Vistage Worldwide Inc. Brown joins more than 300 senior executives, business owners and CEOs across Tennessee who are Vistage members. Brown has had a vision for his business since he created it as a teenager in 1988 — growing it from a D.J. service to a nationally recognized production company featured on the Inc. 5,000 list, which celebrates the fastest-growing private companies in America.

• Local EXIT Realty affiliated offices have announced the recent addition of new members to their teams: Darcel Booker and Chris Wrede with EXIT Realty Momentum, 900 S. Gay St., Knoxville; Ronda Reed, Gaby Mammana, Megan Collins, Heidi Baker, Tristan Upchurch, Roger Dykes and Natalie Wallace with EXIT Real Estate Professionals Network, 9821 Cogdill Road, Knoxville; Tim Krantz with EXIT TLC Realty, 149 Kelsey Lane, Lenoir City; and Sarah Goins and Deedra Blevins with EXIT Atomic Realty, 140 W. Tennessee Ave., Oak Ridge.

• PYA managing principal of Valuation Services Carol Carden recently was elected to the American Health Law Association board of directors. Carden is a longtime member of AHLA, most recently serving on the Women’s Leadership Council.

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