Sebastopol flower shop to close retail space, move business online — but not before Valentine’s Day

“(Small businesses) really need your help right now,” owner Nichole Skalski said.|

Sebastopol floral shop California Sister Plant & Flower is closing its Barlow location after seven years — and moving its business online.

Owner Nichole Skalski attributed the closure to rising costs and changes in trends surrounding retail shopping, with customers not spending money like they did previously.

“The retail environment has become extremely unpredictable,” Skalski said. “It’s been a long, slow process of trying to figure out what we could do to make it work and we decided it would be better to go back to our roots and do what we do best.”

California Sister will officially close its retail shop March 5, but Skalski and her business partner, Kathrin Green, will continue to provide fresh bouquets and cater flowers for weddings and events through the company’s website.

The two florists will move operations to a warehouse in Sonoma County, though it will be closed to the public. Customers will be able to place online orders for local flower bouquets for delivery or floral arrangements for events.

“It’s just going to be kind of a pullback, but we’re still going to be in business,” Skalski said. “It’s just going to be a little different.”

California Sister, named after the butterfly, was started by Skalski in 2014. She ran the business out of a studio, doing floral design for weddings, until she met Green, who had apprenticed with Papillon Floral Design in Santa Rosa.

Both they also were involved with the North Bay Collective, a group of flower farmers and floral designers in the area.

In 2016, the two opened up a storefront in The Barlow, where they sold floral arrangements and other gift items, such as greeting cards, garden tools and home decor.

The shop weathered fires, the historic February 2019 flooding of The Barlow, COVID-19 and economic uncertainty, which ultimately led to the business’s transition to online.

Flower orders can be made on California Sister’s website, with an option for delivery throughout Sonoma County during the week or in-person — until March 5 — at its 6790 McKinley St. location.

“I’m really excited to have a little bit of my life back,” Skalski said. “We’ll just have a little more control of how things work.”

You can reach Staff Writer Sara Edwards at 707-521-5487 or sara.edwards@pressdemocrat. com. On Twitter @sedwards380.

Sara Edwards

Business reporter

Small businesses are the bread and butter of Sonoma County. I cover a diverse group: Chambers of commerce and business groups, clothing shops, jewelry boutiques, hobby stores and more. Economic uncertainty is a high concern among Sonoma County consumers, and it’s my job to make sure shoppers know what’s happening in the local economy and how those trends and issues impact them.

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