By Matthys Van Leeuwen
While stepping into Iris and Peony, there is an unmistakable vibe of a local business that makes an impact. The shop offers lively and flowery decorations that make a statement with unique arrangements. Iris and Peony serve their clients passionately; the team can take care of any flower arrangement or special orders.
The shop can be found at SW 152nd, which is considered Burien’s main shopping street. The store opened the week of Mother’s Day in 2015 at the same location as a previous flower shop, making the transition for” Iris & Peony” fairly easy. Located on Main Street brings in walk-in customers (approximately ⅓ ) while the remaining are phone-in or online orders.
“Iris & Peony” is one of the last brick-and-mortar shops remaining in the area. They service the local community with everyday and holiday floral orders and the greater Seattle area with event florals. Their creative abilities are being noticed beyond this local area; their service reaches as far as Palm Springs, CA, and Providence, MA, for event work.
Meet Robyn Desimone, a feisty woman who, besides running the business, also chairs the Burien Economic Development Program (BEDP).
It’s never a dull moment with Robyn – in a conversation, she is clear about what she wants to accomplish and can easily switch between business and politics. She doesn’t consider herself a politician but wants the city of Burien’s businesses to flourish. To accomplish this, she easily mingles with politicians and negotiates for our city’s businesses’ much-needed safety and protection. After the Downtown Emergency Safety Center (DESC) was approved, she and many other business owners felt that the impact on the businesses was not taken into account, while the regional Southside Chamber of Commerce refrained from taking a position.
A group of business owners expedited the already-existing plans to start a new organization to represent the businesses in Burien under the name Burien Business Association (BBA), for which she is the executive director.
This organization solely represents Burien businesses and hopes to develop a healthy relationship with the City Council and the Police Department to provide them with a better understanding of the challenges businesses in Burien are facing.
Robyn has been on the BEDP for 5.5 years and has struggled to be heard and to see the results of her many volunteered early morning hours. According to her, the BEDP does not accurately represent the business community.
“Robyn Desimone is the type of business owner any town wishes for. Working incredibly hard at her own business while caring deeply for her business community and the Burien community,” says Angus Wood, Aussie Pie Owner, who serves as the Chair of the BBA.
The philosophy of Robyn is to achieve public safety in our small town. The amount of time businesses spend policing their own properties and taking measures to ensure the safety of their customers and staff is staggering. Working together as citizens with these tasks can help all Burien’s businesses.
Be sure to visit Iris and Peony for all of your custom flower arrangement needs and special occasions!
The author of this article is a business owner and treasurer of the BBA.