Florist brings green thumb to Creston
Glamour and Grit does gifts, weddings, DIY bouquets, plant re-potting and green-wall installations in addition to offering lawn and garden supplies.
Heather Grit has harnessed her creative streak through a new floral and retail shop in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood.
The first-time business owner and board member of the Creston Neighborhood Association and the North Quarter Corridor Improvement District launched Glamour and Grit Floral, 1515 Plainfield Ave. NE, with a Valentine’s Day soft opening and a St. Patrick’s Day grand opening.
Grit, who formerly worked at Posh Petals, has arranged flowers professionally for three years.
In order to prepare for running a business, she attended workshops on floral design and sought one-on-one business counseling from the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI-SBDC).
“I do weddings and events: fresh flowers and build-your-own bouquets,” she said. “I have someone who makes gifts with etchings like wine glasses and decorates dishes for succulents, and I sell those here. I have an order in for indoor plants, and I do green-wall installations for businesses and homes.”
After her grand opening, Grit branched out to include a lawn and garden section in the shop.
“I have rakes, shovels and hoses, lots of small gardening tools and seeds and kits for starting seeds,” she said. “I also added a potting bench, where customers can drop off a plant to be repotted and pick it back up or have it delivered.”
Although this is her first storefront, Grit said she has helmed creative projects in the past.
“I had an Etsy shop online where I did lighting,” Grit said. “It was called Junkyard Jems. I did a lot of furniture upcycling and painting. I did a lot of mason jar lighting.”
After having two children and spending a stretch assembling flower arrangements from home for weddings and other events, Grit knew it was time to find a bigger, publicly accessible space for her floral work.
“I couldn’t do weddings in my kitchen sink anymore,” she said.
A five-year resident of the Creston neighborhood, Grit said it made sense to look for a storefront there. She found the 1515 Plainfield space, owned by Deck Andrejczak, after asking about the neighboring space.
“I met him when I inquired about the space next door, which needed a whole build-out, but when this became available, it was perfect,” she said.
She said she enjoys having a symbiotic relationship with neighboring businesses in her block.
“I give the spa (Spa Nirvana, at 1507 Plainfield) their rose petals for their pedicures,” she said. “It’s great that Renee Austin Wedding (1555 Plainfield) is here, too. I’ve had to go down there to match ribbon to a dress, so that worked out really well.”
Grit said it is convenient living about a half-dozen blocks from the store and being able to walk or ride her bike to work.
The proximity came in handy for her in the weeks between her soft opening and grand opening, as she faced various setbacks. Someone rear-ended her car one day while she was driving down Leonard Street. A couple days later, an upstairs tenant’s plumbing failed and damaged the ceiling inside Glamour and Grit, which meant she had to close the store and rearrange the displays and assembly tables for a few days. The damage was fixed.
She took all of the obstacles in stride.
“I’m going with the flow,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to be easy.”
Grit has one part-time employee, will have two more in the summer and may hire a retail manager for the store at some point.
The florist is booked solid with 19 weddings and 45 other corporate events through the end of 2017, but she still plans to offer a pop-up DIY flower assembly event on the patio at Little Lucy’s Café on Mother’s Day.
“We were there on Valentine’s Day,” Grit said. “I had a table set up and pre-made arrangements and a build-your-own bouquet station, and it sold out within a couple hours. The restaurant had cakes, cupcakes, sweets and it was kind of a one-stop shop. We’ll be doing it outside on their patio on Mother’s Day, weather permitting.”
Grit said one of her priorities is providing foam-free potting and arrangements, since she said some of the ingredients in floral foam are carcinogenic.
“The basic element of floral foam is plastic,” she said. “It’s not biodegradable. Floral foam ingredients include formaldehyde, carbon black, proprietary acid catalysts, proprietary surfactant and barium sulfate. The first two (are) known as carcinogenic.
“One green step I’ve taken in my floral business is to avoid plastic whenever possible. It gives me relief knowing I’m not putting my own health at risk or that of my community and planet around me.”
Despite the fact Glamour and Grit did not officially open until March, Grit was nominated for a Local First LocalMotion award in December for positive social, environmental and economic impacts.
Grit said she is committed to keeping a community focus and neighborhood feel in her store.
“I love the community,” she said. “A lot of people from the neighborhood stop in and chat. I’ve got the little fish-bowl window.”
For art class credit, students from City High/Middle School decorated the street-facing windows with foliage on the top and bottom and made a “Glamour and Grit” sign.
Grit said her niche in the local florist world is color, texture and reasonable prices.
“I really like bright blooms and texture, and I accommodate most budgets,” she said. “I can make something work for anyone within reason. I also have a large cutting garden.
“For my next wedding season, I plan to have a station where (brides) can come in a build their own bouquets. They can place an order with their color palette and bring the (bridesmaids) in for a little DIY fun. Everyone loves that in West Michigan.”
Glamour and Grit opened in March with hours from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.
Grit said she might change the hours this month to noon-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To contact the store, call (616) 808-1524 or email email@example.com.