Since 1990, Figaro's Garden has been a staple of the East Vancouver community. We’re proud to partner with Figaro’s as a seed stockist in Vancouver and know that you’ll find their team knowledgeable, friendly and helpful in your garden and plant care needs. Read on to learn more about this business in our interview with owner Hartley Rosen.
Can you tell us a little more about Figaro’s Garden and what you offer?
Our mission is to provide exceptional and honest service to help customers in the practice of ecologically sound horticulture. The products we carry support these values, offering a diverse selection of high quality plants and growing supplies with environmental integrity and local suppliers our central priority. We offer tropical, edible & ornamental plants along with services including garden design, installations, and garden coaching.
How did Figaro’s Garden get started and what was the driving force behind it?
The distinctive building was built in 1949 and from 1956 to 1988 was mostly known as the Friendly Grocery. The location has always been a source of joy, as many long-time area residents remember flocking there to get their fill of cheap candy! A small scale nursery was started on site by 3 friends in 1990 and they called their operation Figaro’s Garden because one of the owners loved opera and she had just gone to see the Marriage of Figaro where many action scenes take place in the garden.
I’d lived in the neighbourhood since 1999 and every time I passed by Figaro's, I thought to myself, "What a great location for a garden shop—right in the middle of the community." I was always envious of whoever was lucky enough to own it. When the opportunity came up in 2013, I jumped at the chance to purchase the business and continue the legacy of this community institution.
How has COVID affected your business and what have you learned as a result?
In terms of sales they were basically on par with 2019. We realize that most businesses couldn't make that same claim and so I feel very grateful that there is still demand for people to be outside and garden as well as take care of plants in their homes. It (COVID) has affected the logistics of the store, the fact that we can only have 4 people in the store at the same time, how we move people around the store, and we can't serve as many people at one time, that's the main thing.
One good benefit is that we've realized that we don't need to be open for as long as we used to be, 10 to 6, 7 days a week. COVID has drastically altered our schedule of when we're open, now Tuesday to Friday 12 to 5 and Saturday/Sunday 11 to 5 and what that's allowed us to do is spend more time on merchandising, on social media, and actually have time while the store is closed to get our work done. It’s nice for the staff to have time in the morning for the store to be closed and they can accomplish a huge amount of tasks while the store is closed and this has been a positive change.
What does community mean to Figaro’s Garden?
Shopping 'small' isn't a new idea or value. Historically, corner stores and local businesses have contributed to the character of our neighbourhoods. We are truly grateful for our community for continuing this tradition and supporting Figaro's Garden.
What are you most excited about for 2021?
I feel like there was quite a bit of media attention last year about the positive benefits of gardening and the therapeutic value, and there has always been that element for me in my life in the past 20 years. Just to have that aspect be more front and centre in the industry and out in the world, I feel proud of that. I like that path and that narrative- that gardening is great for everyone and a healthy activity. Our tagline is ‘Plants make everything better’, and I firmly believe that and I feel like people are getting to that as well.
If you’re in Vancouver you can find the storefront at 1896 Victoria Drive. To learn more about the services they offer and see what’s new at Figaro’s Garden, visit their website and find them online on Instagram @figarosgarden and Facebook at @figarosgarden.
To find a BC Eco Seed Co-op Stockist in your area visit our Stockist list and map here.