The Perry family knows their way around a stem. Now, they’re learning their way around a roast.
Christina Perry owns the Garden of Reno, a new florist at 700 S. South Wells Ave. Her daughter Jessica Kozlowski and niece Katharine Thornton have joined her in the business. Nathan Perry, Christina’s husband and a master woodworker, also helps out.
In a highly distinctive twist for a flower shop, the Garden of Reno incorporates a coffee bar that serves hot- and-cold brewed coffee, espresso drinks, hot chocolate, baked goods from Rounds Bakery, Dorinda’s Chocolates, and extras like flax or milk substitutes.
In May 2021, a lease was signed for the space. The Garden of Reno (no website yet) debuted on Jan. 25. Its grand opening is Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ribbon cutting).
What inspired the family to combine petals with pours?
“I’d like to say it was a well-thought-out plan, but a lot of it just came to be,” Kozlowski admitted.
“It was a little brain baby — what if we have coffee, too?” Thornton added.
“We wanted to give a new take on a meeting spot and a coffee lounge,” Perry finished. “What the community needs is a little less Starbucks environment, a little more home environment.”
The shop was fated to be a florist again
For the family, that home environment is also a homecoming of sorts.
The business occupies the old St. Ives Florist, which Perry’s sister co-owned for 27 years, until the shop closed and the building was sold in 2019. By chance, Perry met the owners of the building last year, and she learned they wanted it to remain a flower shop. The Garden of Reno seemed destined to be.
“The kids were raised in this building,” Perry said, expanding on the family connection.
“There’s a counter where we all scratched our names,” Kozlowski remembered.
Giving new life to leftover flowers
But the new shop isn’t a reincarnation of St. Ives, known for its profusion of flowers, displays, garden ware, floral paraphernalia and related items filling the store to the rim.
“It’s a whole new experience. People come in and they say, ‘I can’t believe how big it is! I love what you’ve done with the walls!’ Thornton said. “I tell them, ‘No, they’ve always been there. They were just covered.’ “
Re-use and repurposing guide the Garden of Reno, an approach partly inspired by a global flower shortage caused by COVID and sales of flower farms to marijuana growers.
At the shop, leftover flowers are hung from ceiling racks to dry, then remade into things like dried bouquets or floral confetti for weddings. The enclosure cards tucked into flower arrangements are fashioned from housemade paper and include seeds for planting.
A painting from the St. Ives days (and from Vogue Cleaners before that) still brightens one wall. And old counters have been reformed into modules that can be deployed around the store.
Getting a coffee education from Hub
At the Garden of Reno coffee bar, folks order from a repurposed counter faced in golden pressed-pattern tiles. Hub Coffee Roasters trained the family in the ways of the roast and supplies the shop with coffee making essentials.
“Before the training, I had no idea what it took to make a great cup of coffee. We didn’t want to disrespect the art form,” Perry said.
“Coffee is a huge community. You’re not just coming out here and serving a Folgers cup,” Kozlowski agreed. “Once we learned about coffee, it was invigorating and exciting.”
The Garden of Reno is zoned for a drive-through, and the family is hoping to open one next year for coffee service. Also ahead: a wrought iron fence to beautify the property and outdoor seating in warm weather.
During the pandemic, the family relied on chain coffee shops to meet clients for Quality Event Design, the wedding and event planning business Perry also owns and the family still runs. Now, the clients are starting to come to the Garden of Reno.
Along with other folks wanting a stem or a pour or some of both.