A bloomin’ move

Melissa Heringer

Photo by Emma Kirchhoff

Christian & Johnson has been a fragrant, colorful fixture in Chico for longer than a lifetime. More than 100 years ago, Annie Bidwell’s gardener, F.G. Peterson, opened the shop on the banks of Lindo Channel. The floral and gift shop’s current owner, Melissa Heringer, has been hoping to move for a few years now and finally secured a new spot for the business, which will move this summer—“if everything goes smoothly,” she says—to 1098 E. First Ave., at the corner of Neal Dow Avenue. The new spot, a home built in 1940, will be renovated but still maintain the “quaint, cozy” atmosphere of its current location at 250 Vallombrosa Ave., where it has been since 1913. The shop can be reached at 891-1881 or through christianandjohnson.com.

Why move?

Our business is growing and we just don’t have enough space here to grow. We finally found the perfect spot … and it’s going to give us more room, it’s going to give us better parking [and] it’s going to give us a lot more freedom to grow and really do business the way we’d love to do it. It’s also going to give us lots of extra storage. We will be able to stock a little more product there and we’ll have a little more space to make shopping easier. It’s going to make working just a little more efficient. We want our customers to be welcomed there, as if they were coming to our home. We want it to be a place of happiness and a place of peace.

What makes C&J unique?

We hand-pick our flowers directly from the San Francisco flower market. That means we get a different mix of things in every week. So, as the weather changes, as seasons change [and] as growers introduce new product, we kind of are at the forefront of that, and that gives us a lot of inspiration and ensures that we have a high-quality, fresh product, too.

What has made C&J successful all these years?

We have wonderful customers. We recognize faces as they come in, we know people by name and people really feel like they’re a part of our family, as opposed to just a business that they stop into. We have a crew that just takes great pride in their work and loves to do what we do, and we like each other and we just have a good time.

What are you planning for the shop’s future?

We all take a lot of pride in being a part of Christian & Johnson. It’s something that’s been part of the Chico community for over a century, and so we really … want to take care of our reputation and make sure that this business thrives and lasts another century into the future. We focus on customer service—we’re really proud of our quality and our work, and want to treat people the way we would want to be treated.