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Blooming businesses: Shops of all kinds now sell flowers

The Brooklyn Paper
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A shop without roses wouldn’t smell as sweet — at least in Brooklyn.

Hip stores combining flowers with other non-flora related wares are cropping up around the borough like wildflowers — and the new store owners say their flower operations are making their entire business bloom.

“The idea was to open a skate shop with a little flower shop but within the first year we realized that we had to be a florist with a little skate shop inside, not the other way around,” said Michael Sclafani, the proprietor of Park Delicatessen, a flower-skateboard store near the border of Prospect and Crown Heights that opened in March.

Scalfani says his flowers, which he arranges for local businesses and private parties in addition to selling straight out of his shop, now supports the skateboard and apparel side of his business.

And he’s not the only one.

The owners of Saffron, a flower shop-art gallery hybrid in Fort Greene say selling flowers gave them the economic autonomy to sell and display art, too — which is a venture involving high overhead.

“You obviously need a lot of money and connections usually to start up something like a gallery,” said Kana Togashi, the co-owner of the place.

“I wasn’t really interested in having to depend too much on other people.”

Togashi said the flower arrangements are considered an art form in places like Japan, and even though she and her partner had no prior flower experience, they’ve been able learn to make attractive arrangements.

“The flowers are like a daily thing that people kind of come here for,” she said. “They will come in as customers to look at the flowers, and then they’ll see the gallery. So it balances it out.”

Still, the flower business isn’t exactly a stroll through the park.

On top of the financial investment they make, florists have to take the time to frequent markets to find new sourcers — but they agree that once you put in the effort, the economic niche is there.

“When we started we tried to come up with what store would go well with a bar,” said Justin Israelson, the owner of Sycamore Bar and Flower shop in Ditmas Park, which showcases live music and foodie and microbrew events in addition to its flora business.

“We realized that there wasn’t a flower shop in the neighborho­od.”

The trend even extends to Downtown, where hurried office lunchers and students flock to Metro Cafe — a Jay Street pizzeria that’s upstairs from a neon-lit flower shop.

But perhaps the real reason behind the new hybrid petal vendors popping up is simple — flowers make everything better.

“We’ve definitely had people come out from the bar to the flower shop after arguments with significant others and walk out with a bouquet,” said Israelson.

“We joked about how it’s the perfect spot, ‘I’m gonna go to the flowershop, and you get a few pints.’ ”

Park Delicatessen [533 Park Pl. at Classon Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 789–8889, parkdelibk.com]. Saffron [31 Hanson Pl. between St. Felix Street and Fort Greene Place in Fort Greene, (718) 852–6053, saffron-brooklyn.com]. Sycamore Bar and Flowershop [1118 Cortelyou Rd. between Westminster Road and East 11th Street in Ditmas Park (347) 240–5850, www.sycamorebrooklyn.com].

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.
Updated 5:36 pm, July 9, 2018
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