BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — For 56 years, the Bartz Viviano name has been synonymous with fresh floral arrangements.
As the family-owned florist opens its fourth location in the Shops at Waterville Landing, Anthony Wayne-area shoppers will see that Bartz Viviano is much more.
As floral designer Lieng Tran delicately composed a wrist corsage at the counter, president Frank Viviano and Amanda Viviano led a tour of the store, illustrating just how much home decor and gifts are an integral part of the business.
Pillows, cookbooks, Kate Spade stationery, Rifle Paper planners and calendars, Magnolia Candles by Chip and Joanna Gaines, and Volupsa candles in keepsake containers – these are among the items scouted out by the husband-and-wife team during trips to the Merchandise Mart in Atlanta. A miniature tent houses dozens of Jellycat plushes in all types of animals, along with rattles, teething rings, wood cars and toys.
“We used to live in Chicago, San Diego and Columbus, and we loved to spend weekends looking at retail shops,” Frank said. “I love merchandising. I took those concepts I saw at other stores and fit them into the Bartz Viviano brand.”
Working with local vendors, Frank also plans to bring in clothes, jewelry and other gifts made by area artists.
While the shop is tastefully arranged with gifts for baby, wedding, house warming and sympathy, flowers are Bartz Viviano’s bread and butter. And it all starts with flowers directly imported from the grower, to get the freshest, most quality blooms, Frank said. While some customers may feel the cost is higher, the arrangements last much longer because the flowers haven’t been sitting at the wholesaler’s for a few days.
“We work with customers to fit any budget,” he said. “Customer service is extremely important to us. We’re proud to be a full-service florist, and we deliver daily anywhere between Napoleon and Monroe, Mich.”
A private consultation area gives those planning a wedding, funeral, shower or other event a place to work with Amanda to choose flowers, vases, bouquets and sympathy items such as stones, chimes and custom-made afghans.
One of the other perks in the store is a make-your-own planter area, where customers can select succulents, cacti and other greens to place in a container to give as a gift or take home.
“You can pick the plants based on how often it will be watered or how much sunshine is available,” Viviano said.
Bartz Viviano is the only florist in the area with a plant maintenance department, available to care for plants in the office or in the home – especially handy for snowbirds heading south for the winter.
Opening the Waterville location is like coming back to his family’s roots, Frank said. Last year, the family took over the business that was started by Frank’s great-grandfather – an Italian immigrant – in 1962 in Detroit. Grandfather Sam continued the business in Northwest Ohio, while he and his wife Eleanor raised six children, including Frank’s father, Frank, in the Liberty Haskins House on Canal Road.
Amanda grew up in Monclova Township and earned a finance degree from The Ohio State University. She was living in Chicago when she met West Toledo native Frank, an Indiana University graduate. A few years ago, the couple decided to return home and to get back into the family business.
“Waterville is a growing community and our family has roots here. We saw a lack of retail for fun shopping and wanted to fill that void,” he said.
As they prepared to open on October 1, the couple utilized area talent: Cathy Tyda did the wall art, Amanda Couch the logo and S&E Designs the store design.
A grand opening party is planned for Saturday, October 13 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with snacks, discounts and an opportunity to design your own Mason jar bouquet for $15.00.
The store, located at 1097 Pray Blvd., is currently hiring part-time and full-time floral designers and holiday help. For an application, e-mail email@example.com.