Businesses Without Borders: Paradise Flower and Gifts’ Bouquets with Love

2 mins read

Along Florence Street in Redwood City lies a cozy store nestled near local restaurants and bakeries. However, this store stands out from its neighbors. Once customers walk through the door, they are immediately greeted by a wave of floral and earthy scents. Inside Paradise Flowers and Gifts, owned by Rosa Funes and her daughter, Mariela Funes, each corner of the store hosts a different botanical category. While one corner showcases bamboo, Guiana chestnut, and anthuriums, another corner features fresh and colorful roses. Additionally, the store is colorfully accented with get-well cards, graduation balloons, and other decorations. 

Although the Paradise Flowers and Gifts shop opened in October 2012, Rosa Funes has been interested in flowers since her childhood. “I love flowers, and back in El Salvador, my grandma has a field of them. There, I learned the names of different types of flowers.” After Funes moved to the United States, she worked for Michaels Arts and Crafts while having a small business on the side. 

“When I started to work in the United States, I worked different jobs, but my daughter got cancer when she was eleven years old, so I started to make flowers on the side to take care of her. I made flower arrangements for my friends, for my church, and for friends’ weddings,” said Funes. 

After fifteen years of working at Michaels, Funes left her position. That’s when she decided to expand her flower business. “When I make flowers, I feel peaceful. At Michaels, there were fake flowers, but I wanted to work with real flowers. So, my daughter proposed that we open a business together.”

Rosa and Mariela have different responsibilities of running the business. Funes said, “My daughter helps me with the computer and answering the phone, and I work with the flowers.”

Rosa (left) with her daughter, Mariela (right).

The language barrier was a challenge when the business first opened. Funes said, “Because my first language is Spanish, it was difficult to communicate with customers. But now, even if I don’t speak English well, I am not afraid.” 

Funes drives to San Francisco every week to pick up batches of flowers for her store. She said, “When I’m not busy, I go two or three times a week. Everyone at the market knows me already.” Funes makes sure to pick flowers with the closed buds and fresh leaves in order to ensure the arrangement’s quality. 

Funes also enjoys customizing flower orders of unique styles. For example, she was fulfilling an order for a funeral wreath and had learned that the person who passed away had loved to play the guitar, so Funes made a special wreath in the shape of a guitar. “I make each arrangement personally. When I make something for people, I see them smile, and I am happy. When a customer has a picture of what they want, I try to replicate the picture but also make it look better.”

The store is at its busiest on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day every year. Funes said, “Whenever I am working, I have memories of how I grew up with flowers and how they helped my family. On Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, my husband and five kids all help me in the store with customer service or with deliveries.” Some of the most popular flowers in her shop are roses, hydrangeas, lilies, sunflowers, alstroemerias, and tulips.

“I thank God for the opportunity to have this business. I’m happy to be here every day, and I never get tired because I love it,” said Funes. The store offers walk-in orders and free deliveries for local online orders. To order online, visit their website here. The store is located at 3720 Florence St, Redwood City.

Eileen is a junior in her second year of journalism. She enjoys covering local businesses in the community and environmental issues. In her free time, she enjoys photography and painting.

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