Small businesses are the heart of any community, and West Michigan is no exception. As we enter the holiday shopping season, it's more important than ever to shop locally and support those who enrich our community through their entrepreneurship.
In this Small Business Spotlight, we sat down with Rachael Goei Vander Heide, President of Eastern Floral, to get to know more about the longstanding family business and what shoppers could find—from fresh flowers to classes and more.
Share a bit about Eastern Floral and what makes it unique!
Eastern Floral has been in business since 1950. My family has owned Eastern Floral for the last 21 years.
It's a special business because we get to serve local families and be a part of their significant milestones. Whether it's celebrating birthdays or anniversaries, the birth of a baby, or a job promotion, our family business helps other families to celebrate those special occasions. Likewise, we are there for them during difficult times too, helping them to honor loved ones with funeral arrangements or to brighten someone's day.
Our business may be about flowers but it's really more than that. We're honored to be a part of so many family moments and milestones.
What types of products and services does Eastern Floral offer shoppers?
Our mainstay is our fresh flower designs and delivery. We also deliver beautiful green plants and blooming planters. We have extremely talented wedding and special events teams. We also provide interior plantscape services, serving both residential and corporate clients. Some people are surprised when they discover we also have a 10,000-square-foot gift shop.
In addition, we offer design classes each month at the shop in our newly renovated design classroom. Eastern Floral also has a team that manages the two event venues located at the Goei Center.
What's your favorite aspect of being part of a small business?
I've been an active part of the business operations of Eastern Floral, working with my dad, since 2019. Being a small business has allowed us to make decisions that positively impact our employees, customers, and community. And because we're a small business, we're able to get to know our employees and customers well. We value our close relationships with them and feel that we're able to be a better employer and service provider because of those relationships.
In addition to choosing to shop local when possible, how can the community support small businesses like Eastern Floral?
Shop directly with Grand Rapids' florists. Call the local number or be sure to click on the local shop's website. There are many websites that claim they are family-owned and local, but they're actually call centers or website-only shops that simply take the order and then have it filled by a brick-and-mortar location in Grand Rapids. We would love for you to contact us directly so we can provide you with personalized service and get you exactly what you'd like. Shopping directly with local florists keeps your dollars in your community.
With the holidays approaching, is there anything specific shoppers should be aware of?
One thing I love about this particular industry is seeing each day how flowers make people happy. Bringing fresh flowers as a gift for a holiday party host, delivering fresh flowers as a holiday gift to a loved one or adorning your holiday dinner table with a beautiful centerpiece will help you see the positive impact flowers can make! Eastern Floral will provide you with beautiful floral designs at prices for all budgets.
We also filled our shop with unique gift-giving options and beautiful holiday home decor. We would love for you to stop by and check it out!
I remember coming to Eastern Floral as a young child—many years before my family owned it. I can still remember walking in and seeing the huge Christmas trees, lights twinkling and filled with ornaments. Soon, I will hang some of those very ornaments on my Christmas tree. Eastern Floral is so much more than just a small business—it's a tradition.
Where can people find you and shop your products?
Our shop is located at 2836 Broadmoor Ave at 28th Street and East Beltline. And you can order flowers anytime at easternfloral.com.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of West Michigan Woman.
Photo Courtesy of Eastern Floral.