November 15, 2019
Specializing in floral and event design for weddings and special occasions, Philadelphia-based business Vault + Vine was founded in 2009 by Peicha Chang. This minority- and woman-owned business is a full-service retail florist selling cut flowers, fresh and dried arrangements, and a selection of indoor and outdoor plants. Since its founding, the business has experienced steady growth and major successes.
With the intent to relocate and expand her flower shop, Peicha purchased a formerly vacant commercial property along a transit-oriented commercial corridor in the heart of the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia in 2015.
“I was formerly located in a secondary commercial corridor on nearby Conrad Street. I moved because I saw the opportunity for greater visibility and impact with a larger space on a major road,” said Peicha.
When Peicha first pursued a loan to renovate the new facility, she was frustrated with the process and traditional approach. Then she met PIDC’s Vice President & Senior Loan Officer, Heather Hanowitz, through the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. With the help of PIDC Community Capital, a Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital program recipient, Peicha secured a $150,000 Working Capital and Equipment loan in 2017 to finance fit out and equipment for the new store on 3507 Midvale Avenue.
The new location, which opened in fall 2017, offers more than four times the square footage of her previous location and nine parking spots. The additional space allowed Peicha to include a coffee bar, serving locally sourced coffee and pastries. It also allowed her to expand Vault + Vine’s previously limited selection of non-floral goods to a full selection of locally crafted gifts, greeting cards, bath and body products, jewelry and candle lines, as well as space for workshops ranging from flower arranging to gardening. The new space offers an immersive retail experience while providing the community with a café, gathering place, and small-scale event venue.
“PIDC’s financial support was critical to getting the business up and running in the first few months. But the real value of being a PIDC client is the network of people and businesses that I am now connected with, as well as the programming that PIDC offers,” said Peicha. “I love being able to support other small businesses on their journey, whether connecting with them as vendors, or mentoring and encourage them to think big!”
Since its expansion, Vault + Vine won “Best New City Garden Shop” in Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly 2018 awards. The business has also more than doubled its top-line revenue from 2016 to 2018 and operated at a modest profit in 2018 within its first full year of operations in the new location. Plus, it has more than doubled the number of full-time equivalent employees since opening the new location.
“It’s important to lead by example and demonstrate that a woman-owned/minority-owned business is capable of doing business well, by traditional standards, and because woman-owned/minority-owned businesses have a lot to offer in the space of shaking up traditional standards and innovating new, growth-oriented business models,” said Peicha.
Underneath the numerous accolades is a business that gives back. Vault + Vine is an active member of the East Falls community in Philadelphia, serving as an accessible urban oasis for residents in addition to providing in-kind donations to special events and fundraisers. Moreover, Vault + Vine carries products from 21 local and sustainable small businesses. The company is the first floral-retail and design studio in the world to hold certified B-Corporation status focused on sustainable sourcing and local economic development.