THE PROPRIETOR OF THIS GARDEN AND FLOWER SHOP HAS BEEN BRIGHTENING THE HOMES AND LIVES OF STATEN ISLAND NEIGHBORS FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS
BY AMANDA McCOY • PHOTOS BY CHRIS LOUPOS
Dana Montana, the owner of Grapevine Garden and Florist, knew from a young age that flower design would be focal point of her career. Raised by the owner of a design company, she inherited her father’s fervor for both creativity and entrepreneurship. In college, she whetted her skills in design at Parsons School of Art and Design in Manhattan, and upon graduation, opened her first floral shop in Staten Island.
“My first store was very small, and at the time I didn’t know a lot about business, but I fell in love right away,” said Montana.
The new owner quickly learned that the secret to sustaining success was simple; by offering a quality product at a fair price whether fresh bouquets or special occasion arrangements she could count on customers returning. And after a few years, she set sights on expansion and opened a garden center across the street from her shop. In 2007, the stores merged under one roof and with the moniker Grapevine Garden and Florist.
The shop offers customized arrangements for a host of occasions, from weddings and funerals to all manner of parties. Possibilities include bouquets, floral baskets, fruit and food baskets, standing sprays and wreaths, and plant assortments. Montana’s canon of work is multifaceted; she calls upon decades of experience to curate an arrangement in any style bright and sunny, classic and elegant, or monochromatic. The last has seen a particular surge in popularity in recent years among those less interested in color and more fascinated by shape.
“Monochromatic designs are really trendy right now. We’re doing a lot of compact arrangements but with beautiful quality flowers and using more squares and cubes,” she explained. “They are low, compact, and tight.”
As a full service garden center, Grapevine also stocks the necessary ingredients for crafting a garden, including plants, shrubberies, decorations, accessories, even wind chimes. The owner has an open door policy with customers, and encourages them to come to her team with questions, concerns, or ideas, “no matter how outlandish they might seem.”
“A customer came in once whose girlfriend owns a stable in New Jersey,” she recalled. “He wanted two horse heads made out of evergreen…for Christmas! Four of us were on it, and we figured out how to make it happen. The trickiest part was figuring out how to make the eye; we finally took the inside of the ribbon to do that. When he came to pick them up, he was amazed. When you have someone come in and you see him or her so happy, it makes the time you put in worth it.”
The shop owner is on site seven days a week, designing bouquets, ordering new products, and helping customers. The work isn’t without its stresses, she explained, but they make the rewards sweeter.
“It can be a very stressful business at times,” said Montana. “During the holidays, we’ll have 300 orders to get out, with lines of people at the register trying to get specific ones. At the end of the day, I’ll think to myself, ‘Wow, I just put in 17 hours.’ Then the next day, I think, ‘OK what’s next?’ There’s a lot of stress and demands, so it’s important to love what you do. If you don’t, it shows. If you do, it shows.”
Grapevine Garden and Florist
2018 Richmond Ave / 718.982.8463