The Ground Floor: Creativity flowing at Downtown Cedar Rapids design firm

Covington & Company couples floral design, event design and services

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March 28, 2014 | 11:38 am

The text messages went something like this:

Adam: Do you still want to sell the business?

Rebecca: Are you interested?

Adam: Yes.

“Then she sent me over the tax stuff, and it was done, basically,” said Adam Covington, who bought the Garden Gate Flower and Gift Shoppe in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Covington & Company, a custom design business specializing in event design, floral design and event services, opened Oct. 1 at 125 Third Ave. SE, next to Paramount Theatre. Covington admitted the new venture is a little scary. Long hours. Debt. Loads of responsibility. But the response from other businesses has been good so far.

“Some of the businesses downtown have Mother Hened us, if you will, really plugged us where they can and utilized us,” Covington said.

Covington, who grew up in Walker and now lives in Center Point, bought the flower shop from Rebecca Pflughaupt, who had worked at North Linn High School when he was a student there. During his college years, Covington helped run the flower shop a couple times.

Before opening up his downtown shop, Covington took on a doozy of a project back for a bride in Minnesota. She had no ties to Iowa but wanted to get married in a 129-year-old barn near West Liberty.

Covington had a little over three weeks to prepare.

“In three and a half weeks we were able to find and paint seating for 150 people,” Covington said. “We did all this lighting, created all these custom things, did all the floral and everything for this huge wedding.”

Along the way, Covington has built up a collection of furniture pieces found at estate sales, flea markets and on the Internet. He rents them out for photo shoots, weddings, birthday parties and other events.

“I like to go to a good auction and just throw down and get hostile with people,” said Covington with a smile. “There are some good deals.”

He and his part-time staff assigns names to all the pieces, which helps catalog everything. They have a Victorian couch named Queen Elizabeth, a white end table named Priscilla and a chair called Hermoine.

“That’s Gerald,” said Covington, pointing to a blue sideboard along the wall of the shop. “Doesn’t it really look like a Gerald?”

High-energy and a lover of contemporary styles, Covington said he enjoys creating an event around a simple, central focus, such as a flower, a color or a texture. One couple he worked with referred to themselves as lovebirds, and an idea was born to use the pages of old church hymnals to cut out bird shapes, so they could hang from an arrangement.

Another couple had a long-distance relationship at the beginning, so he plans to incorporate the plane tickets they saved into their wedding this summer.

“There’s always something about a picture, or if the (bride) says something, that we can really focus on,” Covington said. “I’m never worried that we’re going to run out of unique ideas because there’s so much to get inspiration from.”

Owner: Adam Covington

Company: Covington & Company

Address: 125 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

Phone: (319) 362-1884

Website: www.covingtonandco.com

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, and by appointment 

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