TWO STATEN ISLAND SISTERS CARRY ON THEIR DAD’S BOUTIQUE FLOWER SHOP LEGACY IN NEW DIGS ON CLOVE ROAD
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
For sisters Gracie Rizzo and Stephanie Gregg, quality comes first. It’s an outlook and approach that was instilled in them in part by their father, who ran Langdon Florist of Tribeca on Manhattan’s Reade Street for decades. Both Staten Islanders, the sisters wanted to bring their dad’s successful business to their home borough, and he asked them to come on board in an effort to “pass a legacy down to us,” Rizzo explained. It has now relocated to Sunnyside.
Gregg worked with her father in the Manhattan location for 15 years, and Rizzo joined the enterprise in 2017.
Both bring unique experience to the table. Rizzo spent years as a virtual wedding planner at theknot.com. “When he told me about making the move, I thought it was a good fit. I could branch out to weddings and events in more of a personal way,” she said. So, she created a unique showroom reminiscent of a Manhattan style boutique florist. “The space features traditional décor, art deco inspiration and, well…a few ideas from Pinterest.”
The Flower Bar, an idea Rizzo discovered on that same app, offers shoppers a breakdown of what they might want. “A lot of people get overwhelmed when they come in because they really don’t know flowers,” she explained. “I wanted to take them through the basics, step by step. I ask about colors, styles, allergies. You’re putting your trust in us and so we make a point of covering all essentials.”
The shop handles everyday flowers, bouquets, arrangements for funerals, and other services. “We’re an all inclusive operation,” noted Rizzo. “But the whole industry is moving toward weddings and events,” adding that larger occasions and themed events mean, of course, more design and planning. “With weddings and events like bridal showers and baby showers, we’re decorating bicycles… taking a variety of innovative approaches. We can get really intricate.”
Thanks to the evolution of Pinterest, about half of the clientèle come in with an idea of what they are looking for.
“I have a very love/hate relationship with Pinterest, though. It’s beautiful, but often, unrealistic,” she said, explaining that the reality is that flowers are seasonal, and that a pinned photo was inevitably part of a carefully constructed photo shoot. “I’m honest with them; I’ll tell them, ‘It’s amazing, but this is a photo shoot.’ Then I set about doing my best to create their preferred look in season and on budget.”
Gregg, for her part, loves working with delicate flowers like anemones and verbenas.
“I like delicate, picked from the garden varieties,” she said, then shared that she also enjoys working on personalized bouquets. “We love the walk-ins. We do bouquets for anniversaries, we love that… to really personalize something.”
Both observed that a family that works together must also strike a balance between what stays at work and what gets discussed at the dinner table.
“It has its ups and downs like everything else,” Rizzo explained. “When it comes to being in a family business, it can be rough around the edges; there are no filters working with family. It’s super great on some days…we’re literally reading each other’s’ minds. Overall, we leave it here. We’re able to go and have dinner together, laugh, and have a good time.”
“It can be very difficult to balance,” echoed Gregg. “You just work at it. Above everything else, you’re family and there’s so much love there, especially when it’s fathers and daughters.”
Langdon Florist of Tribeca
1263 Clove Road / 212.962.4370 langdonflorist.com