Soiled: Slope florist closes Fifth Avenue shop, moving out of storefront that sold blooms for a century

Soiled: Slope florist closes Fifth Avenue shop, moving out of storefront that sold blooms for a century
Community News Group / Colin Mixson

He’s uprooting tradition.

A Park Slope green thumb with four decades in the floral business closed his Fifth Avenue flower shop on Wednesday, vacating a space that locals flocked to for fresh cuts for more than a century.

“[The original owner] had it from 1917,” said Ted Giannopoulos, the now-former owner of Blooms on Fifth. “It was time to shut down, unfortunately.”

The 64-year-old, Bay Ridge-raised immigrant from Greece opened the shop between Eighth and Ninth streets in 2000, taking over the space once occupied by Daniel’s Florist, which shopkeeper Ernest Daniels operated for decades.

Giannopoulos, who hails from a family of gardeners that at one time owned five shops throughout the borough, said he labored tirelessly to make his business a success, working holidays and weekends and gaining a reputation for falling asleep at the dinner table.

“Work doesn’t scare me,” the florist said. “I scare the hell out of work.”

The store, nearly empty when this reporter visited last week, once overflowed with greenery, attracting customers including mayor Bill DeBlasio, whose wheelings and dealings as a former Park Slope councilman often required a floral touch, Giannopoulos said.

The charming boutique also drew the attention of big- and small-screen producers, who shot scenes from the 2017 film “Unforgettable” and commercials for HSBC Bank inside it, according to the florist.

Giannopoulos, who’s been in the floral business since 1974, said that arranging bouquets became as elemental as breathing over the years, and that he found true joy in creating custom arrangements, such as a recreation of the New York Jets logo with deftly placed buds.

But his healthy business providing plants for weddings, funerals, and other events took a hit with the rise of nearby supermarkets with their own floral departments, not the least of which being Third Avenue’s Whole Foods in Gowanus, which caters to the same types of functions in addition to selling fresh stems, he said.

And floral wire services including Bloomnet and Teleflora — which fulfill customers’ orders via local shops — stopped giving Blooms on Fifth the large arrangements that made the companies’ subscription prices worthwhile, instead only funneling cheaper ones that, after deducting the cost of delivery and other fees, netted little-to-no profit, Giannopoulos said.

“I said, ‘Give me the big fish and I’ll give you the little ones free,’ ” he said. “But they stopped giving me the big ones, so I had to cut it down.”

The florist now faces a novel concept — free time — with the closing of his shop, and looks forward to getting his hands dirty with something other than blooms, he said.

“My hobby was flowers,” Giannopoulos said. “I guess I’ll have to find a new one.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixs[email protected]glocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.