Despite the overcast sky and a chilly October breeze, a steady flow of people came by the Secret Garden Flower Boutique located at 104 U.S. Hwy. 54 in Vandalia on Saturday for the start of a new event.
The event kicked off at 10 a.m., as owners Cory and Silvia McFadden—along with members of the Chamber of Commerce—officially cut the ribbon to their new business. In addition to all the unique crafts, handmade soaps, flowers and other products available at the Secret Garden, Cory and Silvia invited local business vendors to take part in the event, at no charge.
They want to make this an annual event.
The Fall Block Party is the vision of Ellen Roy and Silvia. Like Silvia and Cory, Ellen is a small business owner on the block surrounding The Secret Garden flower shop. The party would be designed to celebrate Vandalia, its small business owners, local artists, and vendors. They noted that there are plans in the works for a Spring Block Party, celebrating the end of winter and showcasing local craft vendors and artists.
As the morning hours passed, the clouds gave way to a little bit of sunshine. The vendors were busy selling their goods and conversing with the many visitors that stopped by.
One of the food vendors, Aloha Wood Fired Pizza, from Bowling Green, sold out of their pizzas only a few hours into the event.
Owner Greg Ellison said, “There has been a great turnout today. We came to a point where we had to let folks know that we were an hour out on our orders. We make our own dough and prepare a limited supply for the day when we do events like this.
“If and when we sell out,” he added, “we close down and go home. Today, we came out with enough dough to make 70 pizzas. And it looks like we will probably sell out before the end of the day.”
Ashley Dalton who owns Sunday Afternoon Bakery, came out to sell her baked goods. She said she was delightfully surprised at the amount of foot traffic the event had produced.
“It’s been really good,” she said. “I was a little worried with it being kind of cold and gloomy, with a chance of rain, so I thought it might be slow but it’s been steadily busy.” She added that, “It’s not even noon, yet I have already sold half of my inventory for the day!”
Cory talked about his and Silvia’s desire to help boost the local economy.
“We want to encourage local artists, crafters, and future small business owners to showcase their talents and get their name out,” he said. “This isn’t about one business or any one person, it’s much bigger than that. This is about bringing the community together, to support the ideas and dreams of that future small business owner, artist, or craftsperson.”
After the initial opening of the shop back in April, the McFaddens have been working on building a good client base in Vandalia and the surrounding areas. Cory is a graduate of Van-Far High School, Class of 1997. He enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after graduating from Van-Far. Cory’s family roots are planted firmly in the Vandalia area on his mother’s side. He is the great-grandson of Rachel Brandstetter Kohl, who is 112 years old, of Vandalia, the grandson of Marilyn Love and Jim and Doris Lierheimer, and son of Lorie and Donnie Uhey—all from Vandalia.
Silvia, who grew up in a small town in Germany, said she has come to love and feel right at home here in Vandalia. She has been working in the floral industry for most of her life. Not only here in the U.S. but also internationally.
A quick online check of the reviews for The Secret Garden reveal lots of positive comments.
“I Got some amazing smelling soaps and a beautiful arrangement for a friend’s birthday!”, “The arrangement exceeded my expectations, and I couldn’t be happier with it and Silvia for taking care of it all for me”, “Super easy ordering, beautiful flowers, and an added bonus of delivery!”
At the end of the day, Cory said he thought the block party was nothing short of an amazing success.
The Secret Garden is quickly rising to be a true beacon for the community. And with the quality of their products and service, background and vision, it comes without surprise. It’s safe to say, the secret is out. If you are looking for beautiful flowers and amazing service, the Secret Garden is your bouquet destination.