The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Boutique Florist Hits Scene

Laying rest to that old cliche "real estate agents know nuthin' bout bouquets," Bette Cunningham, intrepid real estate broker at Brown Harris Stevens and booster of PLG that she's been, has started a new home-based floral design company matching her passion for plants with her brains for business. It's called Yellow Jessamine, and you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Bette's going all out with the customer service, and she uses a highly decorative font. Seriously though, to many a homebuyer or seller, she has been a godsend - her reputation is stellar, and she always writes great descriptive prose in her listings - a talent in its own right. In her newest venture, she hopes to capitalize on her years of experience, in particular her skills honed through "staging" houses for sale. In fact, I remember when she was representin' a house a few doors down from me. We knew the sellers pretty well, and they said Bette was absolutely meticulous about how she wanted things to look when potential buyers arrived. And guess what? That house sold for CONSIDERABLY more than a near identical house mere doors down. That's a skill you bank on.

I sat down with Bette to chat about the new shingle she's hanging at her lovely Manor townhouse. (Technically, yes, I did sit down with her, assuming she also was sitting when she typed the email responses to me, though in all honesty not at the same time, so it's a bit of a stretch to pretend that we had an actual conversation in the seated position. I was most certainly sitting, probably in bed, never quite able to prop the laptop up in a way that makes typing feel natural or even recommendable, so if my questions sounded a little uncomfortable, you know the reason. Sorry, too, Bette, for any and all typos, and for the fact that I didn't believe that "floristry" was a real word, which it is, and it refers to all things concerning the commerce of flowers.  - sincerely, theQ)

I noted that her home has some of the nicest landscaping around - not that I'm an expert or anything, but it sure looks purty. Bette says that "about 90% of the landscaping at our home was done by my sister, and me. We both love to garden...together we make a great team."

Hows about opening a store on the 'Bush? Bette says she definitely can see herself opening a cute little boutique, maybe even a "go-to place for flowers and much more." [I'm thinking a flowers 'n' flounder place, but then I'd better leave it to Bette, because my last joint "Wieners 'n' Waistcoats" was a total bust so I'm in no position to judge what kinds of retail go well together. Though I'm still hopeful that my "Ottomans Anytime" idea for a 24-hour furniture store with drive-thru window - as in why is it so hard to find a suitable end table at 3AM, am I right? For more info, email me offline. I've got a half-a-dozen other sure-fire winners, including a store specializing in decorative and cutting edge nunswear called "Bad Habits."

In the end, what's nice about this new business is that Bette's a local gal, and as she herself said "I'm a person that is very much a part of the community, one I love and one I'm proud to call home."

Best of luck!


Jeanne O'Brien-Ebiri said...

Tim, I love your store ideas. I have always liked mixing a couple totally different (yet somehow linked) things together in a business, like say a flower shop book store? Maybe that's something to think about? Anyway, first things first, I'm so thrilled about Bette's venture because she does have fabulous taste and we SO needed a florist in PLG. I ordered our Christmas holiday bouquet already and we plan to be regular customers. Good luck, Bette!

Anonymous said...

Me too, Tim is adventurous to say the least. And also, I think Bette is thinking flower shop + art + wine when and if she decides to grow the shop (she might consider children's books). Yellow Jessamine's current set up though, in addition to the workshop, is a stunning wine bar, on the lower level. This is where she creates the arrangements and hosts some of YJ's events.

Linda S. said...

What a lovely idea--and story. I know Bette and if she does her flowers like she does real estate it will receive 1000 percent of her attention. I wish her the best of luck!

Alexis said...

This is something the neighborhood needs and I can definitely see myself supporting this business. A bit late for Thanksgiving but I will give Bette a call for Christmas for sure.

Bette said...

Wow! This is so great! First, a big thank you to Tim for such a lively and healthy take on Yellow's so appreciated. And also, I'd like to thank all of the folks out there (especially PLGers) who support my concept, and Yellow Jessamine. The best is yet to come!

Best as always,
Bette @ YJ

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited about this new business but I have to admit if the flower shop were a combo wine store I would be disappointed. There are just too many basics we don't have yet but we DO have a wine shop that's totally fine, called 65 Fen. Maybe 65 Fen doesn't satisfy the needs of some ultra wine connoisseurs, I don't know, we ourselves are happy with it, but an extra wine store isn't something I myself would campaign for. We need a bakery with good bread or a juice bar so much more. Like as in desperately!

babs said...

Now a flower shop/wine BAR (kind of like Sycamore on Cortelyou) would totally rule! 65 Fen is great for buying a bottle of wine; I'd like a nice, sophisticated space I could go to enjoy a nice glass of wine and maybe some small plates. There are no local options that serve decent wine by the glass. And I understand that we may soon see a juice bar on Flatbush. I'd also like more businesses on Rogers - there are a number of stores for rent (including several former storefront churches), Rogers really has the potential to become a destination strip.

Anonymous said...


I totally agree with you. And to my understanding, YJ already has a wine bar for friends and customers to stop in, shop flowers and have a glass of wine. Bette would never do a wine shop, her main focus is flowers.

Jory Prison said...

A flower shop is still considered a business! Many people tend to disregard that fact. Since they ignore that it's a business, they also neglect the idea that location should be a key aspect of establishment.