The Eternal Bloom of Rouvalis Flowers & Gardens

With its landmark green-and-white awning, this legendary Beacon Hill florist is a perennial Best of Boston favorite.

Sean Murphy and Emily Montany took the reins of the beloved Beacon Hill flower shop in 2009. / Photo by Ken Richardson.


Rouvalis Flowers & Gardens

Making it to class on time. Cramming for a big exam. Deciding which party to hit on Friday night. These are the toughest things most college kids have to deal with on a typical day. Emily Montany and Sean Murphy’s college experience was a little different. They had an iconic business on Beacon Hill to run, after all.

The two were students at the Boston Architectural College and working at Rouvalis flower shop on the side—Murphy delivering, Montany arranging—when longtime owner Bill Rouvalis passed away in 2009 at the age of 69. The next thing they knew, 20-year-old Montany and 24-year-old Murphy had the opportunity to take over ownership of the shop, making them partners in both business and life. “We were young, and we figured, what do we have to lose?” Montany says now. “It was a big risk, but here we are 15 years later.”

Photo courtesy of Rouvalis Flowers

So where, exactly, are they? Well, in some ways, in the same place they started, and in other ways, somewhere completely different—and exciting. The legendary green-and-whitestriped Rouvalis awning still stands on West Cedar Street, with gorgeous displays of lush blooms and plants spilling out onto the sidewalk and beckoning locals and tourists alike to experience the magic inside. The delivery business to both residential and commercial clients is still going strong. But Montany and Murphy have also expanded Rouvalis with garden design and installation services, and just opened a brand-new 2,000-square-foot shop in Winchester. “Sean and I were able to design the space exactly how we wanted it,” Montany says. That included an entire room dedicated to fresh floral stems so you can come in and make your own bouquet; a home space with furnishings, textiles, and rugs; and a beautiful selection of container gardens.

Of course, operating a business with such a perishable product and such complex logistics (ever tried delivering Valentine’s flowers in sub-zero temperatures?) wasn’t always easy. When the couple first took over, they spent six days a week in the store, attending school after work from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at least two nights a week. The drive to succeed, at times, was overwhelming. “It was great to take over an existing company, but it was a ton of pressure to do what Bill would have done, how Bill would’ve done it. To live up to what Rouvalis was,” Montany reflects. And even with the changes they’ve made, the couple feel like they’ve achieved that. “We’ve kept the customer service and personal touch,” Murphy says. “I think that’s number one, and it’ll always be number one.”

This story first ran in the print edition of Boston’July 2024 issue, as part of the Best of Boston 50: Service package.

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