Sending flowers to show you care is an established tradition in the United States.
Shira Grunstein discovered that it was an unmet need for Americans living in Israel, so she stepped in to provide the service. Petal to the Metal creates beautiful flower arrangements and delivers them throughout Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Shavuot is a time when flowers take center stage. Petal to the Metal is creating several types of arrangements that can be ordered from the U.S. and delivered in Israel for the holiday.
“Americans are used to buying high-end flowers for special occasions and Shabbat,” said Grunstein. “Local Israelis still don’t have the same appreciation for flowers—even though Israel is one of the top flower exporters in the world.”
An interior designer before making aliyah from Teaneck two years ago, Grunstein fell in love with flowers. She worked for top florists and learned how to create artistic looks at the most prestigious Israeli event venues. She met a team of freelance florists who worked at the president’s residence by day and for state dinners at night. Now many of them work for her.
When COVID-19 cancelled all large events, “the whole industry took a hiatus,” said Grunstein. She decided it was the right time to go out on her own. Although the pandemic closed the events market, it opened up one for flower bouquet delivery. People who could not travel to Israel could send beautiful flowers. “I realized my market is delivering flowers from people in the States to their friends and families in Israel,” she said. “You can send a floral arrangement when you can’t travel here for a bris or a simcha.”
Grunstein’s husband, Rob, is an antique car buff, and came up with an idea for combining his love of cars with his wife’s new floral arranging and delivery business. They bought an antique Volkswagen truck, painted it with eye-catching designs and used the open back to hold the flowers. Petal to the Metal was born.
One surprise was that flowers not so popular in the U.S. are in demand in Israel. And others that are everywhere in the States can’t be found in Israel. “Carnations and gerbera daisies are highly valued here,” she noted. “But you can’t get hydrangeas; they’re very expensive.”
Israel has a large supply of locally grown flowers but Grunstein will use imports as well. Corona upended the market in Israel and abroad, so she often makes decisions and substitutions based on what’s available. Farmers who wound up with a surplus when events were cancelled held back on growing new stock. Now the market is coming back, but not all flowers are available.
Grunstein loves the creativity of choosing and mixing flowers to create stunning arrangements. She finds inspiration from many sources. She created arrangements for a bat mitzvah girl who wanted a yellow theme—her name was Limone, lemon. She added fresh lemons into the arrangements for a vibrant and fragrant punch. A still life painting in her home was the model for an arrangement on her table. She matched it perfectly. She made arrangements for a bride who wanted sunflowers—an unusual request she was happy to fill. The vessels that hold flowers are part of the creative process. Grunstein has even used bird cages to frame flowers.
Israel is slowly opening up, and Grunstein hopes American brides and their guests will soon return. “Americans value the boutique artistry of flowers and florists,” she said. In the meantime, she’s happy to be the shaliach, bringing love from Americans to their friends and family in Israel, transformed into gorgeous flowers.
To order, call Petal to the Metal on WhatsApp: 201-658-4829 or call 055-500-1016. Email: [email protected] Follow on Instagram @petaltothemetalisrael.
By Bracha Schwartz