Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 10
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

DEFINITIVE DESIGN: “Customers like the emphasis on the unusual in our designs. Our focus is on beauty — from vintage to modern. And our designs appeal to a wide age range. Princeton customers like to have something different.” Owner Jennifer Shue (right) and associate Marlyn Zucosky of Spruce Floral/Botanical Design, stand near a display of the store’s floral selection, as well as a large botanical photo by Cindy Besselaar of Studiopix.

Unique Floral/Botanical Design Offered By New Florist, Spruce

An eye for color, texture, form, and space, and ultimately for the totality of the look. This is what Jennifer Shue, owner of Spruce Floral/Botanical Design, brings to the floral displays and arrangements she creates.

“Jen has an amazing design aesthetic,” points out her associate Marlyn Zucosky. “People want her eye. Her arrangements are so special. She takes a lot of time and care with them.”

Spruce, located at 344 Nassau Street, opened last September as a full-service florist, with home accessories, following two years as a specialty design studio, which emphasized residential, business, restaurant, and special event work.

“The retail store was really a response to the request of the customers,” report Ms. Shue and Ms. Zucosky. “It was a natural extension of the studio, taking it to the next level, and because of our past work, it was a built-in comfort zone. We continue to do a lot of work for restaurants, all kinds of parties, corporate events, and lots of weddings. Everything from new babies to bar mitzvahs. We do it all!”

Unique Designs

Specializing in unique, upscale designs of remarkable creativity and ingenuity, Ms. Shue often selects the unusual and unexpected, even the whimsical. “I love tropical flowers and black bacara roses — they’re like velvet — and I use a lot of branches and berries,” she explains.

“I also love to use hyacinths, cut orchids, peonies, and ranunculus. We can get peonies from New Zealand even in the winter and tulips from Holland all year. I always choose the flowers myself, with an emphasis on color, texture, and freshness. And our containers are really unique, both for indoors and outdoors, and include glass, ceramic, wood, even birch bark.”

“The flowers are always fresh," adds Ms. Zucosky. "We never sell a flower past its prime, and our arrangements last a long time. They’re 100 percent flowers, no fillers. Customers can count on our quality.”

Ms. Shue, who grew up in Westchester County, N.Y., found her vocation early. “I got interested at a young age; my mom was a landscape designer, and then I apprenticed for a long time. I learned from a master in floral design.”

She continued to work with this designer in Bronxville, N.Y., until moving to Princeton five years ago.

Spruce is filled with a wonderful sampling of floral displays, as well as gorgeous botanical photos from Cindy Bessalaar of Studiopix, assorted one-of-a-kind items, home accessories from Roost, ceramics from Muddy Dog Studio, sculpture from Robert Cannon, and hand-crafted jewelry from Sloan.

Adventurous Spirit

“I have been surprised by the numbers of artists and artisans in Princeton who we are lucky enough to work with,” says Ms. Shue. “Sometimes, they just find me. For example, a craftsman arrived one day and said he had some things he could show me. They were wonderful huge nests made of branches that can be great containers."

“Jen has an adventurous spirit, and I see the joy she has when she finds a new line,” notes Ms. Zucosky.

That Ms. Shue is able to instill this spirit into the designs she creates brings clients back again and again. “The overwhelming embrace of the customers and community has been wonderful,” she says. “I love the creative part of the work most of all and the opportunity to work with wonderful people.”

Customers come from all over the Princeton area and beyond, including New York, and among the regular clients are such Princeton establishments as Mediterra, Tuscan Hills, Zoë, and Rouge.

“We do flowers every week for Mediterra,” notes Ms. Shue, “and we also supply flowers for the others on a regular basis. Fashion and florals and botanicals go very well together. There’s a great connection. For Zoë, for example, we have provided orchids and terrariums.”

Ms. Shue and and Ms. Zucosky are extremely encouraged by the customer response, and work hard to keep up with the demand.

Busiest Day

“We were hugely busy for Valentine’s Day,” reports Ms. Shue. “It is always the busiest day for flowers. I love Valentine’s Day. It’s a time to appreciate the love you have in your life. Flowers have such a beauty and can represent the love between two people.”

When creating arrangements for such an occasion as Valentine’s Day or for the many other special days/events in people’s lives, she takes care to make them personal and individual. “I believe our style is unique, modern, and elegant. Many of our containers are works of art, and I like the combination of one-of-a-kind items from the past with my modern designs. I love combining modern and vintage. Vintage adds charm to the clean, even stark, modern look.”

Ms. Shue is also grateful for the teamwork at Spruce. “I have an incredible team, with Marlyn, our assistant Mary Beth, and a great delivery man. They are incredible, and I couldn’t do this without them.

“I try never to forget that ultimately, family comes first; I’m a working mother with three boys, and it’s always a balance. I am so lucky to have found people I can count on, so I can walk away when necessary, and not worry or feel guilty.”

Spruce is also active in supporting charities in the community, adds Ms. Zucosky. “It’s nice to be able to give back, and we look forward to continuing to be here and offering customers high quality floral designs and unique home accessories. Also, we want people to know that professional images of our designs are available electronically. Contact us for further information.”

Spruce is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5, and by appointment. 609-688-8312. website:

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