Gretchen Tipps Special for the Franklin News-Post
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a new florist has opened in Westlake.
Antonina’s Floral Design is owned by new Smith Mountain Lake residents, Antonina and Cornel Cretu. Antonina, the floral designer, has spent more than 20 years working for a boutique in central New Jersey. Since 2015, she has also performed floral services for weddings and other events on her own.
“God’s instructions” helped the couple discover the lake, Antonina said. As nature lovers, they were looking for a new home in the countryside and settled on the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cornel is a boater, fisherman and hunter, and the many possibilities of these pursuits led the couple to Smith Mountain Lake.
“The outdoors is very close to my heart. God’s creation is much more beautiful than man’s creation,” said Cornel, who spent a lot of time in the Carpathian Mountains growing up in Romania.
In July, the couple moved out of New Jersey, bought a house in Hardy, and began renovations. They also started scouting the general area to find the best space to open Antonina’s Floral Design. As they weighed the options for a bustling mall in Vinton against the “peaceful” and neighborhood atmosphere of Westlake Towne Center, the scales easily tipped in favor of Westlake. Their store is located at 75 Westlake Road, Unit 109, next to Verizon Wireless.
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“We want to be part of our community,” Cornel said. “We were able to design this flower shop as we wanted and integrate it into our city. We wanted to be in our hometown, and the Lord directed us here. We are excited to meet our neighbors and be part of the local economy.
Procrastinating lovebirds will be relieved to learn that the Antonina will be stocked for Valentine’s Day with flowers, teddy bears and chocolates. “They can come and get a rose, arrangements will be waiting in the cooler, or they can be specific about what they want and I’ll create it for them,” Antonina said.
The same policy applies throughout the year. Customers can place orders in person, over the phone, or online, and flowers can be picked up in-store by the customer or delivered to their home or event location for a fee.
Antonina said she enjoys talking with people to personalize flower arrangements so her designs can match specific occasions and each individual’s personal style. For those in a hurry, bulk cut flowers and pre-arranged bouquets await you in large coolers. For those who would like longer-term greenery, potted arrangements soak up the sun along the large storefront windows.
For larger events such as weddings, Antonina schedules a personal appointment with the bride or couple to begin the design process. They discuss the wedding theme, planned mood and color palette in order to make the floral decisions. “And, of course, I have to find out what kind of flower she likes!”