Sister Businesses: Be Well and Park Floral
Updated: Dec 17, 2022
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credits: Dan Meredith
Believing in hard work and the importance of doing what they love inspired two hard-working sisters, Dianna Padron and Damaris Melendez, to open thriving small businesses in Rutherford. Raised by two parents who taught them to believe in themselves and the value of working hard to achieve their goals, Dianna and Damaris each have inspirational stories to share. This is Rutherford interviewed both business owners to learn more about their careers and lives.
TIR: What do you love about Rutherford and owning your business in town?
Dianna Padron: I love living in Rutherford because I love the community, I love the small-town feel and I love that everyone contributes in some way to bettering our town. It's a joint effort and that really is the heart of Rutherford.
Damaris Melendez: I opened my business in Rutherford because my sister lives here and she and her husband have a business here. I looked at other towns but felt at home here. There was this familiarity and a sense of community with all the other businesses and families in town. Since I opened my business I have experienced a great response from the people that live here. I have regular customers that have been coming to us for their floral needs. So many residents are so wonderful they come to me because they like to support small businesses. My store is located across the street from Lincoln Park. And it's so wonderful to see all the special events that the town offers to everyone, from parades to activities in the park.
TIR: When did you open your business?
DP: We opened Be Well Greens on September 13th, 2022. Incorporating plant-based food and cold-pressed juices into our lifestyle was important to our family and we wanted to share that with our community. My husband Manny has been my number one encouragement. He helped me to actualize my dream with hard work, determination, and lots of prayers. We are so thankful our dream has finally become a reality and we are now open to serve our community!
DM: I opened my business, Park Floral, in January 2017.
TIR: What are the benefits of owning your businesses side by side and having a hallway that adjoins the two places?
DP: Be Well is directly next door to my sister’s flower shop, Park Floral, side by side and has a shared space that adjoins us. This is truly an example of sister businesses. I love being able to pop in and say hi to my sister every day. I bring her food and juices and she fills our space with beautiful flowers. It is a perfect match,
DM: What! It's a dream come true. It's great that we see each other even more now and my niece and nephews. We're a close family so this has been a great opportunity. We also help each other out in any way we can. We also share my son (laughs), he works for me in the morning and then goes to my sister's in the afternoon.
TIR: Tell us more about growing up together and how you both developed such strong work ethics.
DP: We have a very innate strong work ethic. My father and mother both came from Cuba and worked very hard, multiple jobs until eventually, they became small business owners in New York City where we grew up. When we lost our father, my mother stepped up and took over the businesses. This was a very impactful time in my life as she worked seven days a week even on holidays so we would have everything we needed. As a young girl, I saw my mom as a superhero. I remember sitting next to her by the register of our store and passing her the brown bag for the customers' purchases. Eventually, she bought us a house and moved us to New Jersey to find better school systems and opportunities.
DM: Our parents had businesses so we grew up working at our parents' stores. They were both business people and taught us many things. Even though times have changed there are certain things that haven't. For instance, that drive to own your own business, to help others, and provide the best product and service you can give.
TIR: What can you tell us about your business?
DP: At Be Well our mission is to impact the health and wellness of our community through delicious organic cold-pressed juices and plant-based foods. We have healthy food options that are convenient that will nourish and fuel your body. There is a little of everything here from healthy smoothies, unique cold press juices, kid-approved organic apple juice, delicious salad bowls, and yummy toasts.
DM: We are a florist and welcome walk-ins, and sell loose flowers, plants, and gift items. Valentine's and Mother's Day are our best holidays. We make deliveries in town and the surrounding towns. We have fairy garden parties for children, up to 15 kids. We also do workshops, like succulent terrariums. We call them "Plant and Sip." You can bring in wine and snacks and we provide all the things you need to make a succulent terrarium. We have held corporate events, bridal showers, ladies nights out, and couples' nights. Our other workshops include Christmas wreaths and flower arrangements. We specialize in weddings and events - like Christenings, Baptisms, Baby showers, Bridal showers, corporate parties, anniversaries, and birthdays. We deliver up to an hour away.
TIR: What are you most proud of so far in terms of your business? What are your goals?
DP: I'm proud when people come into Be Well they say “We needed a place like this, Thank you for opening here!”. My goals for the future are to keep offering healthy food in a variety of options and expand our cold-pressed juice menu!
DM: I'm proud when making a beautiful bouquet for anyone that walks in. Because I love to see how that bouquet brightens their face. I love to see the smile on our bride's faces on their wedding day when we get to see all that we've done for them. Or to receive a call, email, or letter from our customers that they were so happy and loved how everything turned out. My goals are to be able to continue to give our customers great service and quality. To grow and be in Rutherford for several more years.
TIR: Would you like to tell us anything about your family?
DP: My husband and I have three amazing children Ethan 13, Emma 11 and Elliott 4. Our life is so busy yet so fulfilling! Our kids are great reminders of the blessings in the everyday! Our kids have been part of the Be Well Greens journey from the very start. They stayed late nights to help us set up and clean and were our taste testers as we juiced, it was definitely a family affair.
DM: I am married. My husband is amazing; he helps me out during major holidays and big weddings. He's wonderful with our employees and customers. I have two children, my daughter worked with me from when I opened the business till last year when she got married and moved to California. She was a great help and it was a great experience working with her every day.
TIR: What else would you like to add?
DM: We want to dispel the myth that healthy food isn't delicious or that it won't fill you up. We invite you to come in and experience the difference in how you feel after trying us out.
Come in the month of December and mention this article and get $5 off your food order.
DP: Well like they say " If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life"