Orangeville Flowers & Greenhouses
Beyond Joanne and Martin Woudenberg’s busy floral counter are rows and rows of antique furniture, wall decor and collectibles.
Don’t let the name fool you. At Orangeville Flowers & Greenhouses cleverly curated antiques have sidelined much of the potted plant population. Expect a gauntlet of fresh-flower scents as you enter off the John Street parking lot, but beyond the busy floral counter you’ll find rows of antique furniture, wall decor and vintage toys under the bright greenhouse glow. Co-owner Joanne Woudenberg’s parents bought the business in 1985. Joanne and her husband, Martin, took over in 1999. She says the seven-week pandemic closure helped the couple imagine life after retail and they are now contemplating retirement. The store was for sale at press time, so if you haven’t yet visited, now is the time.
Owners: Joanne and Martin Woudenberg
How they started: Martin has been at it since he was a kid. “I was given an old radio when I was in my early 20s. I thought it was really cool. Other people thought it was really cool, and I just kept buying more, and next thing I knew I sold a few pieces.”
Best known for: Reclaimed furniture. “People aren’t too concerned with how old it is. They are going for a look they see in magazines. The real collectors want good pine pieces that haven’t been painted. But when it comes to paying the bills, painted stuff is hot right now,” says Martin.
Recent hits: Nostalgic items, old coffee grinders, old signs, says Martin. “Barber poles – I mean they were always there, they were always popular – but in the last three or four years, they’ve just exploded. It’s more the guys that are into those. Advertising signs have been lying around for years too. The man cave thing happened and they all wanted to decorate with anything ‘manly,’ anything mechanical.”
What they’ll never part with: Joanne, who stitches heating pads and other items – now including face masks – at her sewing station in the store, says her favourite is a vintage spool cabinet. Martin says most of his favourites are long gone. “We like to sell. That’s the thrill.”
Pro tips: Buy from reputable dealers, “people who know their stuff,” says Martin. “There are a lot of reproductions out there. Young people can go to the internet for research. Back in the day we used to have to buy big books.”
Their new normal: They are open again, monitoring numbers to avoid bottlenecks. Overall business has remained good, Joanne says.