Rhonda in her el­e­ment in flow­ers

Napier Courier - - NEWS - BY BRENDA VOWDEN brenda.vowden@hbto­day.co.nz

As the new owner of Ahuriri’s The Vil­lage Florist, Taradale born and bred Rhonda Clay­pole is in her el­e­ment.

“I just love com­ing to work — this is my pas­sion.”

Rhonda is a fa­mil­iar face around town, hav­ing worked for sev­eral florist shops over the years. She says al­though she has al­ways been happy where she’s worked, she’s of­ten dreamed of own­ing her own store.

“The op­por­tu­nity came up — it was the per­fect lo­ca­tion and size — I thought I’d be silly not to take it.”

With her most re­cent em­ploy now closed, her cus­tomers have been ask­ing for her.

“They’ve been won­der­ing where I’d gone. I didn’t get the chance to tell them — I felt a bit sad about that.”

Rhonda says al­though set­ting up The Vil­lage Florist has been a chal­lenge, ev­ery­thing has gone to plan and she’s had plenty of sup­port, in­clud­ing tak­ing on for­mer work­mate Monique Bot­tom­ley as her as­sis­tant. She says ev­ery­one has been kind, help­ful and en­cour­ag­ing.

“The peo­ple at Ahuriri have been so friendly and wel­com­ing — there’s a re­ally good vibe. They all like to sup­port a new business. Ev­ery­one’s be­hind you and wants you to do well.”

Rhonda is also jump­ing on the green band­wagon, hop­ing to be­come more eco friendly — start­ing with the re­cy­cling.

“We’re al­ready drop­ping off all the card­board and are the re­cy­cle de­pot for Ne­spresso. We’re also try­ing to cut down on our plas­tic and waste.”

Bring­ing stock from home is a big plus, grow­ing a lot of the fo­liage her­self.

“I have a great pick­ing gar­den,” she says.

They are try­ing to use pa­per bags and more nat­u­ral wraps.

“We want to have a green and a plas­tic bin. It doesn’t make sense to put green waste in the rub­bish bag.”

More gift lines are on the cards. Rhonda says she wants The Vil­lage Florist to be in­no­va­tive and of­fer a range of fresh flow­ers, in­clud­ing ex­otics.

“I want to put my own stamp on it.”

■ The Vil­lage Florist, 72 Bridge St, Ahuriri, Napier, phone 06-835 1222

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