For more than 20 years, business has been blooming in northeast Queens for Tommy and Lori Cress.
The couple, who live in Douglas Manor, own and operate Little Neck’s Cress Floral Decorators, which was first founded in Manhattan in 1903 by Tommy’s grandfather, Thomas.
Now, the shop sells a variety of flowers and plants and specializes in décor for weddings. Lori Cress said the store, located at 248-02 Northern Blvd., has a very loyal clientele.
“We really care about our customers and bend over backwards for them,” she said. “We try to go above and beyond accommodating them. We are people persons. And we have a great staff, all of whom have been with us for a very long time. It’s like a family here.”
Cress Florist was first operated in Manhattan as a pushcart before moving in the late 1920s to Woodside, where it remained for more than 60 years. Nearly 20 years ago, the store relocated to Little Neck.
Lori Cress said she began her career as a clothing designer, but eventually began running a second Cress shop in Long Island City, which closed after the 2008 economic downturn.
“When we moved [to Little Neck], I got more involved in the wedding aspect of the business,” she said. “I was good at personalizing with the brides.”
She said Cress puts together a variety of bouquets for brides to sample.
“We have no high-pressure salesman forcing them to give a deposit,” she said. “It works because it makes the brides feel comfortable.”
The store also sells floral arrangements, plants, gourmet baskets and balloons as well as provides flowers for special events, draping and lighting for weddings and artwork for bar mitzvahs and sweet 16 parties.
“We do everything from 40th or 50th birthday parties to themed events for country clubs,” Lori Cress said. “We’ve done Mardi Gras, 007 and all kinds of crazy stuff.”
But the days that keep the florist busiest each year are Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Thanksgiving.
Lori Cress said the shop’s prices draw customers from all over the five boroughs and Long Island.
“Our motto is we work in everyone’s budget,” she said. “If someone wants a $20 bouquet, we can do that. We have one client that often orders $300 centerpieces. And we’ll do $50 and $75 arrangements for a birthday, get-well or anniversary party.”
Flowers sold at the store include Holland flowers, hydrangeas, calla lilies, lisianthus, tropical Hawaiian orchids, rose of paradise, anthuriums, ginger and a wide variety of roses, such as red, circus, cherry brandy, quicksand, silver stone lavender, cool water lavender, super green, bubblegum pink, green tea and fuschia.
Some of the store’s customers have been doing business with the florist for generations.
“We’ve done weddings for grandmothers, mothers and daughters all in the same family,” Lori Cress said. “A lot of our customers still call us from Woodside and Long Island City. They stick with us.”
This year, the shop was named Best of the Boro by the Queens Courier, listed as a 2012 pick in The Knot’s Best of Weddings and honored by Bride’s Choice.
Cress Florist is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, call the store at 718-423-6255.