Luxury Rose Store
By Kerry Johnson
Every child who comes into Rosarium’s store gets their very own rose, beautiful and perfect, just like they are. Employees get to see their faces light up every time. And those employees are likely to see those little faces again and again. It is, in every way, a community store.
Owner Akbar Sharifi says for 30 years, his neighbours, his kids’ friends, and members of community groups have been coming in to shop and chat. Flowers were sent for engagements and weddings, births and baptisms, proms and graduations, and now he’s sending flowers for the next generations of kids’ weddings. “We’re there, we’re growing with the community,” says Akbar. And he’s serving all kinds of community members too: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, everyone is welcome. Those in need aren’t ignored either. Rosarium works with charities including those for Princess Margaret Hospital, and Sick Children’s Hospital. And when a local school is a little short on funds for their graduation event, Akbar tries to find helpful ways to make sure they get what they really want. He says, “You can’t just think of business all the time, you need to help your community too, that’s very important.”
The store itself is a hive of activity. There are bright fridges full of colourful displays of roses that are shipped in constantly from Ecuador. There are multiple service counters to place orders, although soon there will also be iPads so customers can place the orders themselves. And there are tables where employees are busy assembling, wrapping and decorating the flowers with lengths of shiny ribbon.
Behind the scenes is non-stop action too. Roses come shipped in protective cardboard containers marked with their own barcodes to identify their rose name, colour and length. Each bunch is opened, inspected, dethorned, cleaned and reassembled, and every rose is inspected to make sure it’s up to quality. Then they’re sent to the high-efficiency coolers to rest, rehydrate, and wait for the chance to make someone very happy. The orders are fast and furious, whether in person, online, or even through Uber Eats, where you can send a gorgeous display of flowers as easily as ordering a pizza. And the staff is in constant contact with the farms in South America, ensuring the blooms will be fresh and ready to meet the needs of customers.
Sometimes it’s for a bunch of long-stemmed beauties, sometimes it’s for a thoughtful display for a funeral. There’s a need for corsages and boutonnieres, and extravagant wedding displays. There’s a constant demand for birthday arrangements sure to delight the eye and the heart. Rosarium can even tint roses to unusual colours like blue or rainbow, or make memorable flowers preserved in alcohol, that last two to three years.
It all adds up to a thriving business that’s been making the area more beautiful for decades. But owner Akbar Sharif says, “it’s our greatest success…to grow, not as a business owner, but as part of the community, “ making memories that will truly last a lifetime.