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Opening a Shop: Week 4

At the end of month, local florist Gardenia of London will open its fourth branch on Teddington High Street.

In a series of weekly posts, I will take you through the nuts and bolts of opening a new shop - from the initial concept right through to launch. With only a few days to go until opening day, I am feeling the pressure!

Week 4: 3 days until doors open

Three days until doors open. THREE DAYS UNTIL DOORS OPEN! It’s at this point that I start to question my own sanity but… deep breath… it’s time to put the finishing touches to all our hard work.

Shop Shape

The major fitting work in the shop is all done. Despite an extremely tight deadline the builders have done me proud. I took the time to sit down with them every day to go through progress, unexpected hurdles and work still left to do. I must have driven them crazy hovering around all the time but it was imperative that we open on 17th April so I didn’t feel happy just taking a step back and letting them get on with it. In the back office our IT systems are set up and ready to go; our shop sign has been delivered and our new awning should be up in the next couple of days.

A New Team

Our new manager for Teddington, Natalie, has been on board since mid-March. She’s an experienced florist so luckily needs very little ‘training’; instead she’s spent the last few weeks getting to know other local businesses and generally spreading the word about Gardenia. We have also recruited someone to work with her: Emily has been hard at work in our Surbiton shop learning how to hand-tie our bouquets so that she’s ready for the mad rush (I hope!) at the weekend. For someone who hasn’t done much of this before, it means aching hands and sore skin until your muscles get used to it – who said the life of a florist was glamourous?

Party Time

On Thursday evening, we’ll open our doors to friends, local traders and the press for a sneak peek at the shop and a glass of something cold and fizzy. It’ll be a chance for us to have a ‘dry run’ and check that the space works for us in the right way, that the tills are functioning properly and that the team is ready for opening day on Friday. But it will also be an opportunity for us to relax a bit and enjoy what we’ve created – a new shop, from scratch, in a very short period of time!

Wish me luck… the end is in sight. Or is it the beginning?!

Jamie Grant is the owner and creative director of Gardenia of London