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Brick-and-mortar buh-bye: Flower Haus permanently closes German Street location

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Jan 29, 2021

Mark Harding will spend the next few months converting the Flower Haus van into the Road Haus headquarters. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Flower Haus owner Mark Harding announced the closure of his brick-and-mortar location on social media last week, subsequently closing the doors of 112 East German Street to the public for the last time.

According to Harding, although the shop will no longer have a permanent location along German Street, it will continue to operate on a smaller scale. The shop will return to its roots, as a mobile flower shop operated out of the shop’s converted van, which Harding refers to as “the Road Haus.”

“The recent months have taught us so much about our community and how our business can best meet the needs of our loyal customers,” Harding said, referring to the last 11 months spent in the COVID-19 Pandemic. “We have certainly explored every creative concept in order to maintain our services and presence in Shepherdstown (and neighboring communities). With that in mind, we’ve compiled the best of the best from each scenario and decided to leave our storefront and get back on the road!”

At the beginning of the pandemic last spring, Flower Haus reached out to the community by giving bouquets to essential workers throughout the Eastern Panhandle. The bouquets were funded by the social floristry action campaign, WILT, during the months in which the government shut flower shops down. Unfortunately, the campaign and following months of business, after the shop was allowed to reopen to the public, were not successful enough to save the shop from having to vacate its retail space.

“As a small business, it is becoming more and more apparent across many industries that a brick-and-mortar retail space doesn’t exactly fulfill the needs of today’s customer,” Harding said. “Our immediate instinct when COVID first impacted our community, was to build out the Road Haus and come to you with fresh blooms and botanicals.”

Flower Haus opened its brick-and-mortar location for the last time on Sunday. Tabitha Johnston

Harding will be doing just that in the coming months. But to get the Road Haus into a fully functional position, the shop’s van will first have to receive a makeover.

“We will be designing graphics for the Road Haus so we can keep it fresh on the streets. We will build a full flower shop into the van with proper insulation, hydration and all the essentials to design on site with you, not just for you!” Harding said, mentioning other changes will need to happen to get the business running. “Our website and online presence will shift to accommodate this new adventure. We will also be looking for a modest commercial/production space.”

To fund this new venture, Harding has asked the community for donations, with a $26,400 goal in mind. As of press time, 25 donors had raised $1,735 for the cause on Go Fund Me, before closing down the fundraising page.

As Harding looks toward the future of his business, he anticipates it remaining part of the local community.

“We will continue to collaborate and support local business, by hosting mobile pop-ups and design gatherings — safely, of course!” Harding said. “The spirit of this earth is so resilient, and currently so strong. It’s always been our mission at Flower Haus to celebrate that strength — to integrate the diversity of beauty and bring all of that together into one single vase, into one bouquet, for you. So that you have a reminder by you at all times of how big this world is, of how beautiful this world is and how much more bold it can be, when we integrate that diversity!”

Flower Haus owner Mark Harding delivers a bouquet gift to a local grocery store employee as a sign of appreciation at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Courtesy photo