With roots in Wheaton, flower shop expands to downtown Naperville
The beauty of Andrew's Garden isn't just confined to the four walls of the downtown Wheaton floral and gift shop.
Rose petals are showered over the sidewalks around the corner store. Macrame plant hangers are displayed in the windows. And French-cafe-style seating along the side of the building makes Andrew's Garden a spot to relax with a cup of coffee.
"We do a lot of walk-in business," said owner Tonya Parravano, whose husband, Andrew, is the shop's namesake.
The couple's second store will have the same inviting aura when Andrew's Garden opens Friday within steps of the Naperville Riverwalk, just in time for Mother's Day. It's a spring awakening for their floral business as the wedding and prom season fills up the calendar again.
"Our inquiries for new weddings for 2021 and 2022 and beyond are just exploding as well," Tonya Parravano said. "I think everybody's hoping to get back to a little more normal sense of those types of events."
In 2020, nearly every wedding that Andrew's Garden had booked was either postponed or proceeded as a much smaller event because of 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 would buy six or eight bouquets at a time to share with friends and to show support for the downtown florist.
"Our community in downtown Wheaton turned out for our business as well as others in ways that I never could have imagined," said Tonya Parravano, the president of the Downtown Wheaton Association board. "They truly carried us through the pandemic and beyond."
That sentiment has helped the business take a leap forward and expand to a storefront directly east of the Empire restaurant in the center of downtown Naperville. It previously housed a photography studio run by Parravano's close friend, Alicia Johnson.
Andrew's Garden already has a few Naperville connections. The Parravanos used to live in Naperville. And an Atlanta-area company that supplies the shop with roses from farms in Ecuador is owned by a Naperville native and Waubonsie Valley High School graduate.
"We've dreamed of having a store in downtown Naperville for a long time, and frankly, there's a complete void of fresh flower shops right in downtown Naperville," Tonya Parravano said.
The couple opened their first store in Wheaton in 2013, with her legal background and his in landscaping.
"From being a little kid, I've always been dabbling with gardening and flowers," Andrew Parravano said.
Like the European florists they know and admire, the Parravanos keep shelves brimming with flowers, not stored behind refrigerator doors. This spring, customers can wander through a selection of ranunculus, lilacs, sweet pea, specialty tulips and flowering jasmine vine.
Andrew's Garden is especially known for its choice of roses.
Customers also will see designers making artfully arranged bouquets right in the middle of the store. An up-close view of their work shows floral design is not as simple as cutting flowers and putting them into a vase.
"It's not just a catalog that you look through and pick stuff out," Andrew Parravano said. "You become a part of the experience of what's going on."
He puts personality and unexpected combinations into his arrangements. Branches and vines add movement and texture.
"Our style tends to be kind of more of that lush, romantic and artistic, rather than a structured flower arrangement," Tonya Parravano said.
Both stores also will carry a similar collection of stationery, home decor and other gifts. And with an eye toward sustainability, Andrew's Garden will compost leftover scraps of greenery so that organic waste doesn't end up in a landfill.
But there are some distinctions between the two locations.
If the original Andrew's Garden has a relaxed, Parisian vibe, the Naperville shop will have a "slightly edgier, London" feel, Tonya Parravano said.
"I hope they find a place where they can come and just kind of relax and enjoy and have fun," her husband said.