For so many businesses, the official arrival of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020 will always be a permanent marker of when everything changed, largely for worse.
But some entrepreneurs dodged a bullet, passing on a late 2019 opportunity to launch a new business.
Renato Gouveia and Marcelo Camillo, partners in life and in business, are among them. The former longtime owners of Passion Flowers shop in Corte Madera closed their shop in 2010 and transitioned to running a floral studio business out of their home in San Francisco for the years that followed, focusing on flowers for corporate events, weddings and longtime clients.
In late 2019, the duo sought to return to running a full-fledged retail shop again. “We were missing having our own shop,” Gouveia says, noting that they were ready to sign a lease but decided to hold off.
They paused that plan for the better part of two years, and opened a rebranded version of Passion Flowers earlier this year at 1 East Blithedale Ave., on the block that contains Stefano’s Pizza, Mill Valley Baking Co. and Modica.
“We’re glad we waited,” says Gouveia, who met Camillo on a vacation to Brazil and have been together for 23 years. “And we found this beautiful and fantastic space in Mill Valley. Our intention had always been to be in Marin because so many of our clients are here.”
Camillo and Gouveia say they’re excited to be back in Marin. They fondly recall winning a 2008 editor’s choice award from Marin Magazine.
“Only we were much younger,” Gouveia says with a laugh. “Now we help the children of our longtime clients with their marriages. “Nothing compares to having a shop. People know you have your whole inventory there. Our intention was to create a beautiful environment for the clients. They can come and experience the whole scenario of a florist and have beautiful arrangements. It’s a full-service shop.”
Passion Flowers is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-6pm, though will definitely be open Monday through Sunday in the coming week because of Mother’s Day.
“We’re so passionate about what we do,” Gouveia says. “When Mother’s Day is over, we are always so happy. Not because it’s over but because we did something that we love.”