Editor's note: This story was produced in conjunction with the Latino Communities Reporting Lab.
WALLINGFORD — After years of envisioning themselves with a florist shop, a couple’s dream became a reality when they opened Maiwa’s Flowers & Gifts in May on North Colony Road.
Amanda Naveda and Edgar Paredes, originally from Ecuador, purchased a former barber shop at 192 N. Colony Road, designing and installing everything needed to transform the storefront into Maiwa’s Flowers & Gifts. The work included adding a commercial refrigeration unit for flowers, shelving, a checkout stand and a sitting area.
Naveda would also like to add cultural figurines handmade in Ecuador. Her inspiration for the shop came after working at a florist for a few years.
“When I was a girl, I always liked flowers and plants and doing things with my hands. ...I’ve been learning more as I go,” she said.
Naveda said many of the roses are imported from Ecuador. Flowers are also imported from Colombia.
Maiwa’s also sells cacti, peace lilies, dish gardens, carnations and daisies. The owners plan to eventually expand the inventory.
Paredes, 50, said he wanted to have a flower shop for the past five years.
“We always had the idea of it, and we are thankful it worked out. We hope everything goes well. This is a family business and we work together as a family to get things done,” he said. Calm place
Naveda and Paredes, who have three children ages 12, 13 and 17, chose Wallingford after a visit and ended up falling in love with the town. They saw it as a “calm” place that is not too heavily populated compared to the state’s cities.
“I live in Waterbury and I would always say I was going back to Ecuador, and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered Wallingford and decided to stay,” said the 36-year-old Naveda.
Naveda hopes to one day expand and open florist shops in other locations.
“I think it’s wonderful. Florist shops bring a lot of beauty and good feeling into the community. They reach people in so many ways,” Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson Jr. said. “That kind of business gives back those feelings to the community. We welcome them and hope they do well.”
Orders can be made online at maiwasflowers.com or over the phone at 203-626-9337. They also accept walk-in orders.