Walk into Hops Petunia Floral on the Strand in Kingston and breathe in an orchestra of scent. Then take a look around, because you have never been in a flower shop quite like this one before. “We want to be your local florist, your favorite gift shop that has just the right thing,” says founder Kelli Galloway. “And we do it all. We offer delivery of local arrangements and bouquets, do weddings and events, and provide flowers for small businesses and hotels. We also do specialty events like dinners and gatherings. We love to create a space for people to enjoy and celebrate.”
“We want to be your local florist, your favorite gift shop that has just the right thing.” – Kelli Galloway
Growing up in the little town of Riverview, just south of Detroit, Galloway worked after-school jobs at flower shops while dreaming of the future: living the creative life in the big city. “For a while I thought about interior design, but I discovered graphic design in college and that was it,” she says. She began as a package designer for Hallmark in Kansas City, MO, and then hired on as an art director in New York City, where colleagues praised her “unique, vibrant, on-target solutions” and insightful aesthetics.
In 2013, feeling a bit frayed by the corporate grind, Galloway headed to Seattle for a three-day workshop with a floral designer she admired. Right away, she felt the creative floodgates opening afresh. “They gave us these little notebooks and I wrote on the first page ‘This class will change your life,’” she says. “I don’t know how I knew, but I did, that very second. I returned home a new person, inspired by the women I met, by the landscape, by the peacefulness flowers brought me. A year later, I quit my job and started freelancing as a floral designer.” Another big piece of her life clicked into place when, after 10 years of urban living, she was drawn to the Rosendale Cafe for a concert. It was her first trip to the Hudson Valley, “We went to see a band play and just fell in love,” she says. “We had a house there a year later.”
She delved wholeheartedly into all things floral and found that her carefully honed design sensibility could be exuberantly expressed with blossoms. “I trained by freelancing with all my favorite designers, doing anything they needed. I worked for free for them when they taught classes so I could learn and absorb new ways. That year gave me a lot of experience with different designers, clients, and events. It gave me the boost I needed to jump in on my own.”
She’d been running a small Hops Petunia Floral shop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for a year when upstate opportunity knocked. “Chatting over dinner with our friends from Kingston Wine Company, they mentioned they’d seen this space on Broadway. I couldn’t pass it up; the Rondout is such a special part of Kingston. I’ve always loved it. It also looks and feels a lot like my home in Michigan, so it’s just a really great location.” Visitors to the shop will find an ambiance as lovely and refreshing as the lush blooms themselves. “I want our shop and our flowers to provide a cozy escape,” says Galloway. “A place that makes you feel better, gives you a hug, and then helps you create that space at home or at a loved one’s home with objects and blooms.”
A great deal goes into each custom arrangement from Hops Petunia Floral. “I would say we really focus on color and telling a story that is nuanced and special,” says Galloway. “Every arrangement is thoughtful and different. Each week we hand-pick flowers from local farms and wholesalers. We don’t have standing orders [with vendors]; it’s all based on seasonality and what looks good. I think our shop is very special. It offers really interesting, thoughtful goods, handmade and/or sourced from my resonant places, Japan and Michigan. I try to offer items that make your home smell or feel warm, welcoming, cozy, and inviting. We want your home or the gift you’re giving to feel personally chosen by us for you, with your gift-giving needs in mind. We want the pieces to feel like keepsake items, functional and pretty.”
“I try to offer items that make your home smell or feel warm, welcoming, cozy, and inviting. We want your home or the gift you’re giving to feel personally chosen by us for you.” – Kelli Galloway
A tradition born as a pandemic pivot is still gladdening hearts: Porch Bouquets. “They are a special price of $35. You get a lot of blooms for that price, and it’s only available on Fridays, with free delivery! It’s such a great way to say hi, congratulations, I love you, thank you…you name it! Needless to say, these have been a hit, and we continue to offer them still.”
Galloway’s got the best of both worlds, welcoming customers to her favorite Kingston neighborhood while finding ample opportunities to stay on the cutting edge of her field. “I enjoy collaborating and working with all the amazing designers, sharing our love of flowers, squealing when we all see that perfect bloom, sharing our stories,” she says. “I also love being in the studio alone, music playing, hot coffee, making something weird. I love that space and creative outlet.
I also really enjoy having a retail space, I love curating and presenting my version of what a store is to me…I also love the outcalls. My day-to-day is bananas; I might be in the city styling a photo shoot, at a wedding designing a ceremony arbor, or doing a walk-through for a future event. This job requires me to wear many hats and changes wildly from week to week. I’m the catch-all for all things. It’s fun, and it’s a lot.”
“Chatting over dinner with our friends, they mentioned they’d seen this space on Broadway. I couldn’t pass it up; the Rondout is such a special part of Kingston.” – Kelli Galloway
Sharing her love of blooms and beauty with the world has drawn in a circle she loves. “I cherish my clientele; they are all truly special. Knowing people come back to us over and over for beauty warms my soul. Our clients are creative, they are appreciative of our hard work, they come in to say hi or show us a picture of the flowers they got and how it makes the space so happy. I think we have a really happy space here that breeds more happiness. I feel lucky for that.”
Since opening Hops Petunia Floral, Galloway has learned as she went along. With the business flourishing like a well-nourished rosebush, she’s playing with the idea of going bigger. “I’m always dreaming and thinking about what I can do next,” she says. “I look at other spaces, thinking about expanding or opening a second location, maybe a small chain eventually. I really want more space to produce more products, I’d love to move my flower studio and make my shop bigger. More retail is the focus at the moment, but we shall see what happens!” But no matter what the future holds, Hops Petunia Floral won’t lose focus on its reason for being: Flowers make people happy. “I find a lot of inspiration in nature,” says Galloway. “Every time you get that one special flower that is tinted differently or curled perfectly, it’s a joy to witness. Even when I was a graphic designer, I found a lot of inspiration in nature. No one does color like Mother Nature. I’m in awe of it every day.”
1 West Strand, Kingston