One wouldn’t expect to find fried chicken at a florist, but at Commack’s Ribbons and Roses, if you dream it, it can be done.
That’s what happened when 13-year-old David wanted one of his Bar Mitzvah centerpieces to showcase his love of fast food. Florist owner Lisa Caldararo took his idea and ran with it, making KFC drumsticks and Ralph’s Italian Ice from Styrofoam and spray paint and Taco Bell chips from colored paper.
When a girl dreamed up a Candy Land theme for her Sweet 16, Caldararo pulled out all the stops. She created a life-size version of the candy-trail, including a twisting path, 60-feet-long and 3-feet-wide, made from foam and paper, complete with giant lollipops. Cupcake centerpieces made from coffee filters and bath sponges were the icing on top of this sweet theme.
The fun isn’t just for kids, though. When a couple decided to have an all-green, earth-friendly wedding, the florist put her skills to the test, creating flower holders out of carved pineapples.
In addition to bouquets and centerpieces, Caldararo also makes hairpieces, shoe jewelry, cake accessories and even floating arrangements for pool parties.
“The point is that every party is unique to that person. It’s more than personalized. We sit with the customer and get into their head. Anyone who has an idea, we’ll work with them,” she said.
Business is good for the small business, especially as Valentine’s Day, the shop’s second biggest day, next to Mother’s day, nears. Ribbons and Roses opened five years ago, just as the recession hit. However, the florist’s unique offerings helped it succeed, even as the economy tanked. Being one of only two florist shops in Commack, also helps to drive customers to the shop.
“I feel really lucky to have made it through that time,” Caldararo said.
While the Commack resident owns and runs the shop, her family helps play a part in the business. Her husband, a carpenter, helps to create some of the larger creations, and Buster, the family's 11-year-old, friendly pooch is the store's unofficial mascot, who greets customers in the store.
While the specialty arrangements are a part of Caldararo’s business, the standard wedding, funeral birthday arrangements and flower bouquets are others. The florist orders her supplies wholesale from local vendors who receive shipments from all over the world. She said that her roses are particularly known for their longevity. The store also sells handmade scarves and children's sweaters made by one of the shop's employees.
Ribbons and Roses makes deliveries from Queens to the Hamptons and is open everyday.