CAMDEN, NJ — What expresses love more than a bouquet of flowers or an ornament with all the special trimmings?
Taking the extra step of making sure they’re homegrown.
“True, you can go online, I’m not gonna lie and say that I don’t. But you are never going to find flowers that are cared for and tended to like we do here,” Damon Pennington told TAPinto Camden at the Fourth Street shop Wednesday.
Nyla’s Flowers & Gifts — one of only three or so florists and the sole one in downtown Camden — has roots in the east part of the city.
The reason Pennington said he boasts is the work he’s seen Nyla’s designer, Grisel Nunez, put into every arrangement and gift.
Nunez, who named the original Nyla’s Flowers after her granddaughter roughly six years ago, has more than 30 years of experience in her craft.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she’s worked with an array of designers, including famous wedding planner and bridal fashion icon, David Tutera. You may know Tutera from the reality TV shows he's hosted: WE tv’s “My Fair Wedding” and “CELEBrations.”
Too bashful to allow a set-piece she was in the middle of to be seen by outside eyes, upon being visited Nunez made way for the shop’s main floor.
“How have I developed my style? I’d say over the years, first by following others and then eventually learning how I wanted to do it myself,” Nunez said.
Pennington joked that Nunez is not the one to talk about her mastery.
“Instead, she lets the work speak for itself,” he said.
A trip to the florist
Although it’s heading into its third month since it opened, Pennington said business has been good at Nyla's Flowers. Outside of Valentine’s Day, which they’ve been preparing for since the launch, warmer weather is expected to draw more foot traffic.
Pennington also owns Camden Arts Yard — a 5,000 square-foot modish outdoor bar surrounded by shipping containers on Market Street.
“Grisel was looking for a new location and at the time this building was an empty shell,” Pennington said. “I’d say this is just the beginning of the development that we're trying to do in downtown on a smaller scale. We love what's happening on the waterfront, but also believe what’s going to make Camden great are the smaller businesses here.”
The shop owner said over the years he's heard valid pitches for adding more restaurants and a pet store to Camden.
Walking onto the freshly-varnished floors of Nyla’s Flowers one forgets for a moment they’re in the middle of a city. The shop’s designer, Sonia James Pennington — Damon’s wife — said she was going for a rustic look that invited customers to stay awhile.
Other small details, like chandeliers and exposed brick, also tie the room together.
“I don’t think there’s anywhere else like this in Camden,” she said.
On Wednesday afternoon, love was in the air at the florist with a teddy bear comfortably-seated on a wooden bench, bright red and pink flowers adorned in pots lining the floor, and heart cut-outs strewn across the glass windows.
In addition to floral designs, the shop also offers gift baskets. Nyla’s is ready to help you celebrate a wedding, birthday, a new baby or babies, an anniversary, and lastly, an arrangement “Just Because."
The shop also has sympathy and funeral bouquets.
Nyla's Flowers currently has pop-up shops at the Triad Building on Cooper Street and at City Hall.
Pennington said he hopes int he future the shop will offer classes for anyone interested in learning about making arrangements.
"Grisel is an amazing resource for our community and now that we're here, I think they'll soon know that too," he said.
Nyla's Flowers is located at 39 North Fourth Street. To learn more about the shop and Valentine's Day deals visit nylasflowers.com.