Flower girl open for business

BOUQUET DISPLAY Christine Burda is surrounded by spring blooms in San Juan Bautista.

Christine Burda, or, “The Flower Girl,” isn’t just a budding florist. She’s an event planner, restaurateur, event coordinator, salesperson, as well as being a former caterer. The entrepreneur is one several new business owners working to see San Juan Bautista flourish.

The Flower Girl opened for business this month in San Juan Bautista.

“I started this because I couldn’t find a florist with whom I could work in my wedding planning business,” Burda said. “They either wouldn’t give me their prices, or they were late, or the quality wasn’t good enough.”

Burda began working in the hospitality business in 2006, in between time spent as a stay-at-home mom. Aside from working in several restaurants, she worked as a caterer at the Santa Clara County Convention Center. When she moved back to San Benito County following her marriage of Greg Burda, she knew that she wanted to work as an event coordinator.

“I love the business; I want to get all the details right and to make sure people have a good time,” Burda said.

Burda’s career in event coordinating started at Fox Creek Ranch in San Juan Bautista, where she works as an event coordinator. Fox Creek Ranch’s owners, Florian and Lori Barth wanted to host weddings, but they needed someone to do the planning. She went from planning weddings for the Barths, to forming Fox Creek Ranch LLC, her private event planning business contracting with Fox Creek Ranch. Burda’s wedding planning business has now planted new roots in a 26-acre grove of lemon trees on property owned by Ty and Janet Lompa near Ridgemark Golf Club and Resorts in Hollister.  

“It’s all about the Facebook,” Burda said. “It’s a small town, and people talk about what they see on Facebook and Instagram. Social media has been my main source of advertising. It reaches a lot of people, and I can target certain groups of customers. Right now the What’s Going on San Juan Bautista Facebook page is my best friend. This town is very supportive of local business, and they want to buy as much locally as they can.”

San Juan Bautista, a small town that revels in its smallness, is home to several boutique shops, restaurants and bars. The Flower Girl’s other new neighbors on Third Street, Brewery Twenty Five owned by Sean and Fran Fitzharris, is another example of San Juan Bautista’s new business growth.

“People come over here because there are several other businesses here,” Burda said. “We get a lot of foot traffic from people visiting from San Juan Bautista, and usually those people are looking for gifts. I’m counting on locals for our business but for the weddings I plan, the customer base is built in.”

For The Flower Girl shop, the permitting process what not very difficult since the space was already zoned for commercial use. Burda replaced the existing fluorescent lighting, installed a sink, and bought two, large, glass door refrigerators, one found on Craigslist for $500 and a brand new Maxx Cold model for $2,400. Much of the furniture is repurposed from La Casa Rosa. The heaviest piece of furniture, a plywood countertop with steel reinforcements, is topped by $50 in pennies, meticulously glued to the surface and covered with epoxy.

“When we were going to move it we found that it was too heavy to get on the truck,” Burda said. “We live on Washington Street, so we just put it on dollies and rolled it over here on foot. It was a pain to move all this stuff in here, so if we ever move, Greg said we’re selling everything with it.”

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