The following article is part of a series featuring locally owned, small businesses in Imperial County. The Desert Review wishes to remind its readers to shop locally and support our local economy through the holidays. Stay tuned to read about more locally owned businesses through our Shop Mom-and-Pop series.
EL CENTRO — Through the hustle and bustle of traffic of Imperial Avenue in El Centro one might not notice a curious yellow sign on a green-tinted building next to a steakhouse, but a deeper look into Cynthia’s Flower Connection shows it is not just an ordinary flower shop.
Established in June 1992, locally owned and operated Cynthia’s Flower Connection has since bloomed from its initial 300-square-foot shoppe to the more than 2,000-square-foot building, which sits on the corner of Woodward and North Imperial Avenues in El Centro.
“I started from the bottom,” said Owner Cynthia Derma. “We take pride in what we do. We try to get the best quality of flowers for our customers.”
“We do a lot of custom work,” she said. “We’ve had people come in and ask us if we can do a football helmet, a basketball, baseballs with flowers on it, saxophones, guitars, angel wings, crosses. We try to do the best customer service we can, and we try to accommodate our customers.”
Derma said she uses a variety of vendors from all over in order to get “unique things, so that the Valley doesn’t always have to go online and hunt and search.”
“I try to find something that might intrigue you,” she said. “We care about our customers. We care about their convenience. We try to take care of them because we don’t want to see them sick either — them as well as our staff.”
The commitment to service was seen Saturday, as Cynthia’s held its first holiday curbside shopping display where customers could buy via sidewalk-up to shielded displays or from their cars with staff help via portable card readers or PayPal, “so that we have safe conditions for everybody,” Derma said.
As the Imperial Valley does not have many flower growers, Derma said her flowers come from all over including San Diego, northeastern US, Florida, Alaska, Ecuador, Columbia, Israel, and other areas as changing and inclement weather in certain areas affects the flower industry.
In addition to flowers, Cynthia’s has various types of holiday-themed and year-round gifts, including a variety of teas, figurines, chocolates, stuffed animals, greeting cards, table centerpieces, local high school mascot-laden bags, scented “therapy” dough, candles that look like beer cans and bottles, and a variety of hot sauces including “grenade” sauce made by Veterans.
"When people come in they don't expect what they see," said front-end Manager Jessica Verdugo. "They love just walking around and looking at everything we have."
Derma said their biggest sells during the Christmas season are floral centerpieces for tables as people tend to want that “happy holiday feel to get us out of this rut we’re in right now.”
“It just decorates your table up so much to have a nice, fresh, green Christmas arrangement to have that nice, fragrant pine smell in bright holiday colors, even for your neighbor next door,” she said.
The employees also said it’s fun working at Cynthia’s Flower Connection.
“It’s been the best five or six years of my time of employment,” Verdugo. “You get to help different families with different occasions and holidays. I love it.”
Verdugo said helping customers keeps her coming back to work every day.
“Let’s cheer everybody up this year because a lot of people are so depressed right now with the way things are,” Derma said. “We’re the flower shop that cares.”