Southside Flower Market owners move from selling from their porches to reopening their shop
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – “We were selling tulips and hand-tied bouquets from our homes.”
Co-owners Renee Koops and Missie Polakovich seem to enjoy recounting how they opened their dream business, Southside Flower Market, in December 2019, only to be closed in March by the pandemic.
“We still had bills to pay,” says Missie. “We bought tulips from our wholesaler and just sold them on our porches. And the community in the neighborhood was amazing.
“We had a cooler full of thousands of dollars worth of flowers,” Koops recalls. “We had the flowers outside, and they would come and take and go and put money in a jar.”
The partners also offered flowers.
“Missie was standing in front of the D&W handing out flowers,” Koops adds. “We wanted people to feel better, you know, with COVID.”
“Our third business partner, Tracy, we’ve all teamed up and rallied, and we’ve had tremendous community support while helping us through this.”
We’re Open: The Southside Flower Market Creative Sale During the Pandemic
The shop is open again, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
“We like to have flowers to take away [and] you can walk in and pick an assortment of stems from the cooler and create your own bouquets,” Koops notes, explaining that the Southwest Flower Market is a “European-style fresh flower market.”
The changes brought about by the pandemic are still part of their daily lives.
“We pivoted to doing curbside pickup and deliveries early on,” says Koops. “And then we just adjusted, and we keep pivoting because marriages have changed. The dances don’t really exist anymore with the schools. So we just had to pivot and readjust with funerals, weddings and events. So it was difficult.
“We are doing a very safe and secure COVID delivery where we call to make sure they are home,” adds Missie. “We tell them what time the deliveries leave from here. And then we ring the doorbell, and we get off their porch and walk back… We’re still doing sidewalks for people who aren’t interested in coming into the store.