March 2, 2022

Unique Vaseful Princeton Flowers & Gifts Offers Array of Choices For All Occasions

FESTIVAL OF FLOWERS: “We have flowers for every occasion, from showers, weddings, and anniversaries to Mother’s Day, birthdays, and graduations, including formal arrangements or informal bouquets. People can also just stop in and get one rose or assorted cut flowers as a hostess gift or special remembrance,” explains Kathleen Angelinovich, manager and floral designer at Vaseful Princeton Flowers & Gifts. She is shown with David, a staff member and team leader at the shop.

By Jean Stratton

In these last lingering days of winter, Vaseful Flowers & Gifts offers a touch of spring.

Filled with a vista of colorful blooms and blossoms of all kinds, it provides customers with a wonderful selection of flowers for all occasions. And a special spring reminder is the shop’s display of pussy willows and the similar purple heirloom branches. Irresistible to many customers!

Opened in June 2019 at 305 Witherspoon Street, Vaseful is unique in a special way. Owned by Community Options Enterprises, it offers training and employment opportunities to young adults with disabilities, and helps them to become an integrated part of the business, interact with customers and co-workers, and build self-confidence.

A sign in the store reminds everyone of this underlying concept, “In this office — We are Helpful. We achieve Goals. We are Courteous. We are Patient. We work Together. We are a TEAM.”

Business Setting

Community Options Enterprises, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Princeton, also owns another Vaseful Flowers & Gifts in Edison, as well as many other businesses in 10 states, all employing individuals with disabilities. Its mission is to help them work in a genuine business setting, take on responsibility, and develop capabilities.

As the company points out, “We believe that everyone who wants to work should be given the opportunity to do so, no matter the level of their disabilities.”

“We have five young people with disabilities on our staff, and their capabilities vary depending on their situations, which include Down syndrome, autism, etc.,” says store manager and floral designer Kathleen Angelinovich.  “They help in a variety of ways, including processing and watering the flowers, as well as cleaning and vacuuming. They work three hours a day five days a week, and all do a good job, and receive a salary. The whole experience gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. And since being with Vaseful, I have become more aware of the situation and the challenges of people with disabilities. It has created an empathy and perspective.”

“Also, our clients and the community have been incredibly supportive in many ways,” she adds. “We recently received an anonymous gift of $5,000 to help with our program. We are so encouraged. Sales have continued to increase, and we have new customers all the time, along with lots of loyal regulars.”

Professional Florists

Angelinovich, who has been in the floral industry for many years, oversees a staff of five professional florists in addition to the five employees with disabilities.

“I have always loved flowers,” she says. “My grandmother had a garden, and I enjoyed helping her. I love the creativity of arranging flowers, and over the years, I’ve been involved in various flower shows. I am so fortunate with our staff at Vaseful. Our florists are professional and creative, and I am so proud of our disabled staff and what they can do. I love watching them grow and learn. We hope we are able to make a difference in their lives.”

Vaseful offers a full selection of flowers for every occasion. The staff can create one-of-a-kind arrangements from the simplest to the most elaborate and to appeal to every taste.

Informal Style

Roses, tulips, and hydrangeas are among the most popular choices, notes Angelinovich, but there is really a flower for everyone, whether it is an orchid or a daisy.

“We really see a variety of choices,” she reports. “And it’s really everything. For Valentine’s Day, it wasn’t just roses. We had customers who wanted sunflowers! In Princeton, people often prefer a more informal rustic type of arrangement. Eucalyptus is popular, and we also have plain or decorated grape vine wreaths.”

Arrangements for funerals are a part of the business, of course, and choices will vary for those too, says Angelinovich. “Today, people often ask for less formal arrangements, such as more of a spring garden look.”

“We are busy all the time, whether it’s a prom, shower, wedding, or corporate event,” she adds. “Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are always our busiest times, and we also have ongoing weekly deliveries for homes, businesses, and organizations. For some customers, we have different flower arrangements every week. We have partnerships with different businesses in the community, and we definitely are a part of the community. This is important to us.

“Also, we were lucky to be able to stay open during COVID. People still really wanted flowers then, and we were glad to be there for them.”

Softer Colors

“We are always ready to help with advice and are here to assist customers with ideas for the flowers they want and need,” continues  Angelinovich. “We don’t have a special style; we can do any style. We do arrangements in vases or even mugs, and fill them with a lovely assortment. Many people today like the softer colors — such as pink, white, and cream —including white roses. Whatever they decide, they can count on our high quality flowers and warm personal service.”

In addition to flowers, Vaseful has a selection of gifts, including David Bradley chocolates, balloons, and small Serenity Angel charms and ornaments. All of these can accompany a floral gift.

As Angelinovich emphasizes, the focus at Vaseful is on quality, while at the same time prices are kept as reasonable as possible. For example, a  small bouquet can start at $10, and 10 tulips are $15.

“We deliver in Princeton and the immediate area,” she adds, “and I want to stress again the wonderful support we have received. People realize that our disabled staff members bring an added dimension to our shop, and the community appreciates this. I can’t say enough about how generous people have been. It has been wonderful, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Vaseful!”

The shop is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (609) 751-9800. Website: