“I tell customers coming to see us, ‘if you think you’re in the wrong spot, you’re in the right spot,'” jokes Bella Hicks, about the unlikely location of her floral boutique at 1927 Menalto Avenue. Like its next-door neighbor Café Zoe, Twig and Petals, which opened in December, is sure to become a favorite of customers that live far beyond the Willows neighborhood location.
Bella and husband/business partner David Hicks, have transformed the space previously occupied by EPA.net. Right away they saw the potential, thinking it would make a great spot for their first retail space, after having worked from their garage for several years. What was once dingy and overcrowded is light-filled and elegant.
Visitors are especially taken with Wally (pictured at left and recently featured on the cover of a Sunset gardening issue), the living plant wall that graces the front of the store. Twig and Petals sells the pockets and supplies that make up the wall for those wanting to create a similar effect at home. They also sell a variety of plants and unique and seasonal flowers, soy candles and other gifts, as well as orchids — which Bella calls her passion. Bella and employee Karin Bonville are the artists behind the eye-catching arrangements that are sold in the store, as well as available through Internet and phone orders. And, of course, there are the weddings and special events that make up a good part of Twig and Petals’ business.
The shop is a real family affair, with Bella’s mother, Melanie Hibbs, operating Oyster Travel in an office in the back. Then there’s Lady, the shop dog. After all, it was Lady who is somewhat responsible for helping the Hicks discover the location. Living in Menlo Park at the time, they regularly frequented the Willow Oaks dog park and were exploring the neighborhood when they came across the vacant space.
Bella also credits the community atmosphere for making it happen. “Kathleen [Daly of Café Zoe] was a driving force. We had a very warm reception, with neighbors checking in on us as we got everything ready. Everyone was super supportive.”
This community focus is something that Bella shares, having already been involved in several fundraisers and community events in the few months she’s been open for business, including a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser at the grand opening and donations to Laurel school and Empower Through Education.
Photo of “Wally” by Linda Hubbard Gulker