Reported by Emma Lindberg
Photographed by Stephanie Peterson
New plant house Uflora will be opening soon in downtown Newberg in order to provide floral service and design to the area. Uflora will provide a welcoming environment that includes a retail space, a workshop area and a floral design service for weddings and events, as well as floral subscriptions.
The store hopes to open this March, but it is still raising money to make the vision a reality. Ella Kaye and Taylor Hickernell are two of the entrepreneurs starting this business. They are both George Fox University (GFU) alumni: Hickernell was an entrepreneurship major and Kaye a business management major. Along with their spouses Andrew Kaye and Josi Hickernell, respectively, they are working hard to become the “primary plant and flower distributor that Newberg-Willamette valley area thinks of for botanical and floral design needs.”
Kaye worked as a floral designer for a company in Portland but knew that she wanted to be her own boss and have her own space. When she learned that Hickernell had always wanted to have his own business, it was a perfect opportunity for them to collaborate.
The store will offer a variety of services. One is the floral design aspect, for which the company will hire out to weddings and events and work with clients to add beautiful florals to events. They are also creating a space in the store where they will host workshops for local artists and creative people.
“We’re going to have a big 10-person table with a lot of work space on it, so we just want to host really creative, fun, artistic workshops,” said Kaye. “Just because of the student population that’s nearby and because Newberg is becoming kind of an artistic environment as it grows.”
The store will also feature a diverse retail section. Uflora will sell a variety of different house plants: cacti, succulents and trees. Along with the foliage they are selling botanical wares and botanically themed art.
The startup process has been challenging. It’s “organized chaos,” said Hickernell. There are a lot of meetings within the four founders and a lot of slow, deliberate financial steps. Currently, the store is raising money in order to get everything required to fully open the store. They have a Kickstarter campaign, and the Uflora founders would love it if GFU students could spread the word and support the Kickstarter, so that the store can begin to “enhance the business environment of downtown Newberg with our products and services, along with the atmospheres within homes and businesses of our local supporters and customers.”
Look out for the grand opening of Uflora this spring, located on South College Street, adjacent to Blue Trout Gallery and next door to Coffee Cat.