WILMETTE – It may be too soon to celebrate spring flowers, but anyone seeking signs of spring might want to stop by the new florist shop Flowers by Geo that recently opened in Plaza de Lago.
Co-owners Georgian Tudosescu and Nina Pancratov bring creativity and passion to their new venture, a boutique florist specializing in custom arrangements for virtually any occasion or individual.
“It is not a business it is a passion,” Tudosescu explained. Originally from Romania, Tudosescu moved to the Chicago area only one year ago after winning the visa lottery. About 10 million people from all over the world apply each year with the hopes of moving to the United States. Tudosescu said she was one of only 55,000 who won a permanent Green Card and the chance to begin a new life in the U.S.
“I love it and I love the people,” she said of her transition to the U.S. She moved here with her two children and two dogs and began her business creating unique flower arrangements for weddings and other events. Her business partner Pancratov helped her with this transition, as she had moved to the U.S. earlier from neighboring Moldova. Both women were accountants before moving to the U.S., having worked as florists part-time in their native countries.
Tudosescu had always dreamed of opening her own shop but never found the opportunity in Romania. When she and Pancratov visited Wilmette last year, they fell in love with the area and decided to open their shop on the North Shore. When they toured the storefront in Plaza de Lago, they knew it was meant to be when they found a dried lily of the valley on the vacant shop’s floor. Their business logo designed by Tudosescu is the three stages of the lily of the valley — budding, blossoming and dried.
Tudosescu is a certified Ikebana florist, which is a traditional Japanese art of arranging flowers. Each Ikebana arrangement represents three elements — the sky, mankind and earth. “It is like a meditation. It is very relaxing and calming,” Tudosescu said.
Indeed, the shop’s atmosphere is quite calming, with colorful flowers displayed in unique containers. “I want to bring the European style [to America],” Tudosescu said. “I like something delicate. I want to express feelings and emotions in flowers.” She is also excited to learn more about her new home country. “I also love American style and will learn it. But I want to respect my roots,” she said.
While Tudsescu enjoys arranging flowers, Pancratov’s focus is potted plants. Together they are building a business that will not only serve special events such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals and christenings, but also custom orders. “There are so many nice houses and people here. I want to bring joy to their life,” Tudosescu said.
While small florist shops have struggled to compete with internet businesses like 1-800 Flowers, Tudosescu said she is confident there is still a market for boutique shops.
“I think people want a personal relationship with the service providers,” she said. “All of my brides are my friends. They know I will do anything I can do to help them.”
In addition to selling flower arrangements and potted plants, Flower by Geo will also offer classes for children on how to make small arrangements for their mothers, as well as classes for adults on how to arrange flowers when they receive them. The classes will be announced on the florist’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/FlowersByGeo. More information about the shop can be found at www.flowersbygeo.com.