Pandemic delays keep Bristol flower shop busy

Jimmy Bason Gilpatrick, owner of Bristol’s Bird of Paradise flower shop, at work. Credit: Elizabeth Fisher /

Here are the brides. Lots of brides. At least that’s what it seemed at the Bristol Borough’s Bird of Paradise flower shop in the wake of the pandemic that has stifled everyday life for more than a year.

New orders for previously canceled ceremonies – there have been at least 14 social victims of the COVID-19 monster – have descended on the Bird of Paradise flower shop on Mill Street, even as ongoing reservations poured in.

Boutique owner Jimmy Bason Gilpatrick and his three fellow floral designers Danielle Vojcik, Ariel Brenker and Trudy Rivera have juggled neck and neck to meet weddings and other demands such as birthdays, anniversaries and funerals.

No longer a sole proprietorship, Bason Gilpatrick realized the need for more space and he was trying to find a way to relocate but stay in Bristol and ideally on Mill Street. Then, in the midst of the recent spike in activity, the answer came.

Credit: Elizabeth Fisher /

“The store in front of our store has become available. I was able to swap 600 square feet for 800, and it made a big difference. I thought that was God’s way of telling me I could stay on Mill Street, ”he said.

One recent afternoon at the new location – that is, 226 Mill Street – the floor of an unoccupied room was littered with rubbish of petals, small leaves and flower stalks, proof that an arrangement had been cut and sent on his way.

“The staff here are talented and efficient. You know a flower arrangement but you might not know which designer. We practiced having the Bird of Paradise look, ”said Bason Gilpatrick, as he shaved the thorns off the rose stems before adding them to a vase.

And that “look” is what attracts many patrons like Donnie Petolillo, whose family-run Italian restaurant, Cesare’s Ristorante, uses the arrangements and decor from Bird of Paradise to reflect the changing seasons or special vacations.

“I noticed his windows and they were so beautiful that I decided to use it for my business. I just don’t have that kind of contact, ”said Petolillo.

Thanks to his new, more spacious excavations, Bason Gilpatrick can continue to thrive in Bristol, a city he first fell in love with nine years ago.

“Everything I have today including my husband, adopted son, friends and acquaintances, well, I wouldn’t have it without this city,” he said.

Jimmy Bason Gilpatrick, owner of Bristol’s Bird of Paradise flower shop, in his new office.
Credit: Elizabeth Fisher /

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