Steven Buckwald, a florist to the stars and owner of Surroundings Flowers, has an ambitious plan to become a wholesaler to the masses, opening up 25 shops across Manhattan and selling the same high quality cut flowers he uses for his arrangements. He recently relocated his floral design business to Harlem and opened his first wholesale location on the UWS. This past week I decided to take a look at the first shop over at 2207 Broadway, by the Apthorp...
The wholesale locations will not arrange flowers or do the event planning that his Harlem shop will specialize in. They'll only focus on selling bunches at a good price. You will even have to strip your own thorns off the roses - but they'll only cost you $18 for 25. And they do sell the rose stripper (left). Not a bad trade: volume and no frills in exchange for quality flowers. Perfect for someone wanting to pick up a quick bunch or arrange their own flowers. And it is worth noting that they also sell orchids at reasonable prices. I would call ahead, though, to make sure they have any (212-873-0348).
The one wish I would have is that eventually Mr. Buckwald uses the influence of his 25 shops and national chain to show people what high quality means, as well as convince growers and suppliers that this does matter to consumers. Show us where the flowers come from (to be fair Surroundings does have country of origin listed on some of the signs) and under what certification they were grown. Let us know if they are organic, sustainable, or fair trade. If they are from New Zealand or Holland what does that mean to the consumer? If people understand what high quality means and have a place to buy it at a fair price I imagine they would choose that option more often than the deli. I would.
And here is a sampling below of just a few flowers they had on the day I passed by. I bought wonderful peonies. The blackberries, though, were a surprising find. I will definitely be stopping by when I am in the neighborhood and will be looking for the other forthcoming locations!
matt at apartment therapy dot com