A New Flower Market is Opening in Providence

The Floral Reserve, which sells local blooms and specialty imported flowers, opens this weekend.

A bouquet of anemone. Photos courtesy of the Floral Reserve.

Semia Dunne, the floral powerhouse behind Flowers by Semia, is launching her new wholesale flower market with a soft opening this Sunday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Floral Reserve will serve both wholesale and retail customers with local, regional and American-grown flowers, as well as sustainably sourced blooms from the Netherlands.

The flower market also sells vases, ribbons and other floral accessories, most made by American artisans. Additionally, the market will offer accent pieces for the home, including wood slabs, geodes, macramé designs and more.

“We’ll be a very curated wholesaler,” says Dunne, who has worked in the local floral industry for seventeen years.

New England boasts many floral wholesalers, Dunne says, including markets in Cranston and Boston.

“But I’m not seeing a super big local presence being brought into them,” she says. “It’s those local flowers — what we call in the industry ‘slow flowers’ — that add such life and character to a design.”

She says the Floral Reserve is the only locally minded flower market in the region. It’s an equally rare model across the country.

“There’s the Seattle Growers Flower Market, but that is more of a co-op,” she says. “There are two other markets [that sell local and domestic flowers] in the country that are singly owned, in Minneapolis and Sonoma.”

Left: Semia Dunne, founder of the Floral Reserve. Right: wild Queen Anne’s Lace.

The market is located in the same building as Dunne’s floral design studio, on Sims Avenue in Providence. Its December launch is strategic, she says.

“We won’t have a ton of local products, but the idea is to get people aware of what we do have locally,” she says. “So come the spring, everyone is super familiar with where we are.”

At this weekend’s launch event, attendees can browse foraged evergreens from New England; American-grown roses from California; and orchids, hydrangeas and ranunculus from the Netherlands.

The market will cater to wholesale customers on weekday mornings. Retail customers can shop for flowers on Friday afternoons and Saturdays.

It’ll be a boon for local flower farmers, too. Four have already signed on to sell to Dunne.

“Their current model is they pack up their vans and deliver them to us,” she says. “When you’re a flower creative, you actually want to go into a place and touch and feel things. I got the idea that if I was wanting to see this, maybe other floral designers would, too.”

A bouquet of local zinnia and dahlia with other locally foraged materials.

Dunne estimates that local flowers make up at least 60 percent of her designs. She sources from flower farmers in New England and grows her own blooms on family land in Lincoln.

In addition to the market, Dunne says she’ll also rent the space to floral designers who are flown in to Rhode Island for weddings. She notes that Newport is the number two wedding destination in the United States.

For flower design hobbyists, Dunne says, the Floral Reserve “will be a lot of eye candy. Not only can [retail customers] support their local farmer, but we’ll also have some really interesting things coming from abroad.”

To learn more about the Floral Reserve, visit thefloralreserve.com or attend the launch event this Sunday, December 10, from 10 to 4 p.m. at 1 Sims Avenue, suite 102, in Providence.


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