Dec. 24, 2012 By Bill Parry
In the days leading up to Christmas, Floresta, a Long Island City florist, experienced a steady flow of customers looking for the perfect wreath or poinsettia.
While Juan Carlo Bermudez, the owner, caters to his clients’ Holiday needs—he is also known as floral designer who caters to the needs of large corporations, local restaurants and even Hamptons wedding planners.
Bermudez is a third generation floral designer known for his creative pieces. “Some people say I’m an artist but I think that’s pretentious,” Bermudez said. “I do things that others don’t do because I’m not afraid to be original.”
Floresta decorates the lobbies of the huge residential buildings and many of Long Island City’s top restaurants, such as Tournesal and Manducatis Rustica. Despite the holiday rush, this isn’t the busiest time of the year for him. “It’s the wedding season that stretches from May all the way to October,” Bermudez said.
The Colombia native is one of the most sought after floral designers in the wedding business. “We do as many as three weddings a week,” he said. “Everything from a $500 dollar job to a $50,000 event.”
For the really big occasions, Bermudez can count on a network of designers. “One of them did a big wedding in the Hamptons a few years ago” he recalled. “That was worth $3 million in flowers alone. It’s big business.”
Floresta’s main base is at 51-02 51st Ave. It’s a floral studio where Bermudez works on small projects for client’s apartments while planning for bigger events. He also runs workshops for local residents and students.
Outside the florist shop, the store has a small, inconspicuous sign out-front that says Floresta. “We don’t need any big signs out front,” said Monica Ortiz, the business manager and Bermudez’ niece. “The people know who we are.”