A new owner will reopen a flower shop today at 3800 East Coast Highway with a new name and a new feel.
“I’ve got flowers in there, and that’s all I really need at first,” said Kari McGowan, who worked for a year and a half as manager of the 800 Rose Big shop before moving home to southern Illinois.
“I remember sitting there and thinking, ‘I should change this, I should put curtains up, I should do this and this and this,’” McGowan said in an interview.
Instead, family commitments took her home to Carbondale, Ill. until the Rose Big owners called her a few months ago to see if she wanted to buy the shop. She agreed, they hammered out the business arrangements, and after a 29-hour drive, she arrived back in Corona del Mar this week.
The 800 Rose Big shop opened in August 2009, and owner Fred Kassman said he sold the business in order to focus on his 7-week-old son and his wholesale-to-the-public flower shop at 3975 Birch Street. Rose Big also sells to more than 100 florists, and the Kassmans have been franchising the business, he said.
“We have a very full plate with a lot of business ventures,” Kassman said.
He and his wife, Ingrid, spent months trying to find the perfect new owner, he said.
“How are we going to find someone to care for all the wonderful friends in the community?” he said. “The only one who could run that store in the way the community would be satsifed was with one of our own people. The thing I’d like to say to Corona del Mar is that the community welcomed us so warmly. We want everyone to go to that store and support her.”
While the Kassman’s new shop focuses on good quality flowers at discounted prices, just as the Rose Big shop in the village had fore nearly two years, McGowan will make the space a more upscale, “fancier” boutique, he said.
The shop will be renamed Botanica and should be open for business today, with a grand opening party planned for this summer. She said she’s spent the week apartment hunting in the village and stocking up on office supplies like paper clips and invoice pads.
She plans to open and make changes as she goes.
“It’s going to have a boutique-like feel,” McGowan said. “I’ve got to bring that Midwest feel. Better quality, better customer service. I love the location. Corona del Mar people are so nice.”
Read our earlier story about Rose Big here.