My name is Natalia Poveda and my business partner, Daniel Nathan, and I own a flower shop at the entrance of the MacArthur BART station in Oakland, California named Pura Vida Flowers and Plants.
Daniel is an architectural photographer with a taste for rare plants and bonsai. He arrived some months ago from Boston thrilled about the Bay Area and the beginning of my little shop. We decided to work together as business partners and today we are eager for the opportunity to expand what we’ve started.
As for myself, I began my life at the Oakland flower shop when my former boss, a florist from Oakland, informed me that it was suddenly available. I uses to buy flowers from him until one Valentine’s Day he asked me for my help. He knew that my dream was to pursue my own place as a florist. This day finally arrived when I took the available space and renamed it Pura Vida.
I didn’t know much about floral arrangement when I began but now it gives me great purpose. The satisfaction I have from providing customers with flowers to express their love, gratitude, or sympathy has never faded. It also allows me to continue exploring my passion for plants. I used to live in the countryside of Bogotá, Colombia growing and delivering organic greens to clients in the city. I also produced derivatives such as jams and juices. My business in the country was the Pura Vida Green Store which served as a way to apply my knowledge after studying permaculture in Argentina.
It’s so funny how things come around. My fascination with plants actually began when I worked in Costa Rica for a company that produced and exported tropical flowers. I dealt with many extraordinary species like anthuriums, heliconias, gingers and other exotic flowers. After leaving I didn’t expect to work with flowers any longer, yet here I am. I’ve found myself in the Bay Area carrying a “tico” moto, working with stunning flowers and amazing people.
Our business is Pura Vida Flowers and Plants. We offer floral arrangements, plant starters, and handmade terrariums.
The shop is located at the entrance of one of the busiest BART stations in the Bay Area and has continued to be a flower shop for over 35 years (previously known as Sonia Flowers). We’ve recently added our own touch. The changes have been well received by commuters who have given us praise for bringing new life and color into the station.
We fulfill the floral needs of the nearby neighborhoods. Since the BART station is a hub for shuttles to various districts, shopping areas, and the local hospital we also provide walk-bys with many of their last minute gifts and necessities.
We’ve built a strong relationship with the community. It’s lovely to see people return frequently for flowers or even just to chat. They love the quality and diversity of our flowers and plants but we have also made many friends.
This loan will help us continue to develop by opening a new location! We are planning to invest in another Pura Vida store near Lake Merritt in Oakland, California — a one stop shop boutique for flowers and plants on the other side of the beautiful city. It would be a bigger place that would allow us to expand our services as well as offer a greater variety of botanic products. The opportunity to have an additional location in Oakland will help us provide positivity to new communities in Oakland and enhance our services to the city.