636 Washington St.
Interview and Photos by Alyssa Bredin Quiros (TBishPhoto)
I visited Unique Flowers on a sunny May afternoon, the perfect time to think about flowers. May is of course to florists what April is to accountants. Mother’s Day, weddings, proms, graduations are all spring occasions that have become synonymous with flowers of all kinds. Cassy Vargas is carefully arranging corsage boxes in the refrigerator when I arrive.
With over 30 years in the industry, her father Jose Vargas knows how to handle the busy season. A native of New York City’s Lower East Side, Jose’s interest in flowers began while working at a local florist as a teenager. He now specializes in events and has handled a number of New York City weddings and corporate functions at upscale venues like Cipriani and Mr. Chow.
His daughter eagerly joined the business she grew up around. “I love working with my dad,” Cassy says. “My father has such a passion and talent for what he does.”
In 2014, the father-daughter duo opened their first storefront on our side of the river.
“The retail aspect is something new to us,” Jose says.
Though any business that lasts five years on Washington Street is doing something right. I grew up in Hoboken and can remember when this location was Hobo’s ice cream store in the ‘90s. “A lot of people have told me that,” Cassy says. “It must have been popular.”
What makes Unique Flowers unique is its artistry. The interior is set up like a gallery. Each floral arrangement is a work of art. A “graffiti wall” with inspirational words adds to the ambience.
Modest rose and carnation arrangements are displayed in mason jars on pedestals and floating shelves throughout the store. Elegant peonies and orchards are also on display. For that special someone, the duo sells their own brand of preserved Forever roses. And if flowers are not your thing? They also carry an assortment of succulents and cacti in stylish glass and ceramic containers.
A woman comes and purchases a large cactus she saw in the window display. “Plenty of sunlight and not too much water,” Jose tells her. Good advice for a cactus; not so much for a human.
Jose and Cassy plan to continue growing their business. They’ve definitely put down roots in the Mile Square. “Hoboken has really become a second home to us” Cassy says. “We are blessed to have the support of our customers here.”—07030