Brian Tymon and Elizabeth Kelly opened Burgevin Florist on October 1, restoring a business that’s been an Uptown institution for more than 100 years at the corner of Fair and Main. “We have a new attitude and are really focusing on overcoming the past reputation,” Tymon said. “We want to bring it back to what it was.”
In fact, Burgevin Florist is the oldest florist shop in the state, Tymon said. The corner retail store of the 1904 Burgevin building was actually designed to be a florist shop. Its special features remain intact: the extra-large store windows, which let in enough light to keep plants flourishing; the self-draining interior window sills, with holes to catch the water; the tile floor, with its wonderful mosaic border. The Burgevin family was a major supplier for flowers for the Hudson Valley and New York City as far back as the 1850s, and at the peak of the business the family maintained 100,000 square feet of greenhouses in the area, according to Tymon.
In resurrecting this traditional business, Tymon, who’s been a florist for 27 years, and Kelly, a native of the area, also wanted to put their own spin on it. “We have a socially active window,” noted Tymon. Each month, the business is dedicated to promoting an important local cause. In October, for example, the proceeds from all-pink bouquets went to support breast cancer research. Proceeds from all-red arrangements in December went to H.I.V.-oriented charities.
This month, for $5 extra you get a feather boa wrapped around your box of flowers, which helps support breast cancer research. Tymon noted that the proceeds go to locally based organizations; Kelly sits on the board of the American Cancer Society and the charities are chosen through her connections.
The store stocks all kinds of flowers, including beautiful orchids and, among the more exotic blooms, miniature callas. Tymon said there is always an abundance of blooms displayed in the large windows, a sight that’s a welcome respite from winter. (The new business’s purple, green and white logo was inspired by the toad lily, an orchid-like flower that grows in the area.) The store also sells plants, urns and other attractive containers, including antique mercury-glass vases, votive candles, and various other gift items.
In yet another tie-in with the community, the store displays artwork and photographs by local artists on a revolving basis and plans on participating in the monthly gallery openings on March 5, with a reception for an upcoming show of oil paintings by Raphael Perez.
Tymon, who grew up in Westchester County and lived in California for many years—he moved to Ulster County from Napa—said that while his former home town was definitely one of the most beautiful places on the planet, he’s equally fond of the Hudson Valley, which is also scenic but much less expensive. Kingston in particular “has a fantastic community,” he said. He’s a fan of the restaurants, loves the history as well as the Rondout waterfront, and enjoys Kingston’s character. As the business communities in the three areas of the city unite and join forces, Kingston should become ever more attractive to tourists and new residents, he said.
Burgevin Florist is open Monday through Friday from nine to six, Saturday from nine to four, and Sunday by appointment. Tymon recommends people order their Valentine Day flowers as soon as possible, although the store should have something gorgeous still in stock up to the time of your date or celebration.
Posted by Lynn Woods.