With roots in Wheaton, the flower shop spans downtown Naperville
The beauty of Andrew’s Garden isn’t limited to the four walls of the downtown Wheaton flower and gift shop.
Rose petals are strewn on the sidewalks around the corner store. Macrame hangers are displayed in the windows. And the French cafe-style seating on the side of the building makes Andrew’s Garden a place to relax with a cup of coffee.
“We do a lot of walk-in business,” said owner Tonya Parravano, whose husband Andrew is the store’s namesake.
The couple’s second store will have the same inviting aura when Andrew’s Garden opens a few steps from the Naperville Riverwalk on Friday, just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s a spring awakening for their floral business as the wedding and prom season fills the calendar once again.
“Our demands for new marriages for 2021 and 2022 and beyond are also exploding,” said Tonya Parravano. “I think everyone is hoping to come back to a little more normal sense of these types of events.”
In 2020, almost all weddings booked by Andrew’s Garden were either postponed or held as a much smaller event due to the pandemic. But customers were still buying fresh flowers to send to loved ones they couldn’t see during COVID-19 shutdowns. One in particular was buying six or eight bouquets at a time to share with friends and to show support for the downtown florist.
“Our downtown Wheaton community has proven to be helpful to our business and others in ways that I could never have imagined,” said Tonya Parravano, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Downtown Wheaton Association. “They really carried us through the pandemic and beyond. “
This sentiment helped the company take a leap forward and expand to a storefront directly east of the Empire Restaurant in downtown Naperville. It previously housed a photography studio run by Parravano’s close friend Alicia Johnson.
Andrew’s Garden already has some relationship with Naperville. The Parravanos lived in Naperville. And an Atlanta-area company that supplies the store with roses from farms in Ecuador is owned by a Naperville native and Waubonsie Valley High School graduate.
“We have dreamed of having a store in downtown Naperville for a long time, and frankly there is a complete void of fresh flower shops right in downtown Naperville,” said Tonya Parravano.
The couple opened their first store in Wheaton in 2013, with their legal and landscaping training.
“Ever since I was a little kid I have always dabbled in gardening and flowers,” said Andrew Parravano.
Like the European florists they know and admire, Parravanos keep shelves full of flowers, not stored behind refrigerator doors. This spring, patrons can stroll among a selection of buttercups, lilacs, sweet peas, specialty tulips and blossoming jasmine vines.
Andrew’s Garden is best known for its choice of roses.
“Stop and smell the roses” is the message on the floral designers’ aprons at Andrew’s Garden in downtown Wheaton.
– Courtesy of Tonya Parravano
Customers will also see designers craft artfully arranged bouquets right in the middle of the store. A close-up view of their work shows that floral design isn’t as simple as cutting flowers and putting them in a vase.
“It’s not just a catalog that you go through and choose stuff,” said Andrew Parravano. “You become part of the experience of what is going on.”
He puts personality and unexpected combinations into his arrangements. Branches and vines add movement and texture.
“Our style tends to be a bit more lush, romantic, and artistic, rather than a structured floral arrangement,” said Tonya Parravano.
Both stores will also carry a similar collection of stationery, home decor and other gifts. And in the interests of sustainability, Andrew’s Garden will compost leftover greenery so organic waste doesn’t end up in a landfill.
But there are some distinctions between the two places.
If the original Andrew’s Garden has a relaxed, Parisian vibe, the Naperville boutique will have a “slightly more daring, London feel,” said Tonya Parravano.
“I hope they find a place where they can come to relax, have fun and have fun,” her husband said.