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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
The Observer

Flower shop caters to Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s students

With the new school year in full swing, Irish Gardens — Notre Dame’s flower shop located in the basement of the LaFortune Student Center — is ready to take on the opportunity to grow and develop their business. Unlike some businesses or restaurants located on campus, Irish Gardens is entirely student-run and student-managed.

Discussing the services the business offers, senior Sammy Loper, the store’s general manger, said Irish Gardens aims to offer a more affordable product than other flower shops.

“We really cater to the student body. Other florists charge high prices, so much for delivery and there are hidden fees,” Loper said. ”We realize that college students don’t have that kind of budget, so what you see is what you get.”

Irish Gardens offers the student body a wide variety of options from bouquets wrapped in paper to full-vase displays; delivery on Notre Dame’s campus is $5 and the price for delivery for Saint Mary’s students. is $7. Loper explained that the store’s delivery capabilities cover the entirety of both campuses.

“We can deliver anywhere on the campuses,” she said. ”We do balloons also which a lot of people don’t know about, for birthdays and pretty much any occasion.”

Emily Chen, a sophomore in McGlinn Hall, said Irish Gardens provided the perfect gift when her mom came to visit campus last spring.

“It was Mother’s Day and I wanted to do something nice for my mom because she was coming to see me,” she said. ”I wasn’t sure what to do because I couldn’t get off campus, so I decided to check out Irish Gardens to get her flowers.”

Opening its doors in 1983, the flower shop has been serving the students of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s for nearly four decades. Loper said she found the application on Facebook several years ago and decided to apply for the position. She enjoyed the work and decided to continue.

“I saw the application on the Carroll Hall Facebook page when I was a sophomore, and so I applied and got the job. It’s a great place to work here, and so I just continued working. And then when it was time to choose new managers I applied and got the position,” she said.

Senior Alicia Cristoforo is another Irish Gardens employee. She started working in the shop last year and said the opportunity presents a chance to showcase her creativity as well as get a taste of the warmer months during the winter.

“I started working here my junior year, and it has always been a great creative outlet in between classes,” she said. ”Getting to make flower arrangements in the middle of the winter was something that is nice to do.”

The group that operates Irish Gardens is tight knit, Cristoforo said. She also said the job has given her an opportunity to bring joy to members of the Notre Dame community.

“This has been by far the best job I’ve ever had. We get to make people really happy,” she said ”Sometimes people will come in here just to look at the flowers. I work with really great people and we call ourselves the Flower Fam.”

As the new school year begins, Loper said the business is focused on raising its profile. In particular, she said the flower shop is trying to make more people aware of its existence and presence in LaFortune through heightened social media engagement.

“We are really trying to increase our social media presence and get our name out there more,” she said. ”One of our biggest obstacles is that people don’t know we exist, being tucked away in the basement.”

Students can stay up to date on all things Irish Gardens on Instagram at @irishgardens or twitter at @flowershopnd.