ACME Floral Co. Begins To Bloom In Their Brand New Atelier on Fell St.

ACME Floral Co. Begins To Bloom In Their Brand New Atelier on Fell St.

Equipped with 150 sq. ft and pleathora of flower, Kirk Wilder (the founder of ACME Floral Co.) is excited to inhabiting new roots in NOPA.

You enter the shop and there isn't much to enter, the space is a shoebox filled with the most gorgeous florals one can find. Ranging in shades of blush, bloom, and pink—Kirk deals heavily in the organic forms of color. Nothing pre-bought or wildly unrealistic. 

Kirk himself is an energy that directly connects with you—not as a salesman but as a florist who wishes beautiful petals to adorn your home, your lover's life, a special day in your life. But can the floral life get boring or repetitive? To Kirk, everyday holds new creations. We caught up with Kirk in his new floral atelier to ask all of our burning questions, from one local to another. // 1265 Fell St., NoPa, acmefloral.com. Photography by Anthony Rogers.

 Portrait of Kirk Wilder talking to a curious customer outside the shop.

Portrait of Kirk Wilder talking to a curious customer outside the shop.

So for our readers who may or may not get it, what is ACME? We know because we were children of the 90’s and why did you pick the name?

Well, you are very cute to use “we” but, honey, I was born in 1970 and was really never a child. I actually think that I’m going backwards and getting younger, or at least feeling younger every day. But first saw word ACME plastered on all of Wile E. Coyote’s booby traps that he would purchase to try and trap the Road Runner. Remember when animation was creative and depended on guns? When I read the definition on Wikipedia, it seemed like an awful name for a business but I really wanted something that was the opposite of my name. Something plucked from the giant word cloud of my experience that was universal and humble / classic and, maybe, a little punk rock. I didn’t want my business to be called Kirk Wilder designs as I didn’t want it to be the Kirk show. 

From what we know, you were a Haight neighborhood business, so why the move the NOPA in the old Verde flowers spot?

It was more kismet and organic then a planned strategic move. I’m pretty flexible in my life plans and I have been picturing this store in mind’s eye for many years. Part design lab, part flower factory, part retail store and part showcase of what I goes on in my poor busy busy brain. So I incubated my business in my flat on Haight and Fillmore until I heard of this space coming open. It all happened in a way that was simply meant to be. The shop has been open now for 2 months and I can’t quite believe it—it’s a dream come true.

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The space is small but mighty, how are you maximizing every inch?

Well, firstly, I maximize it by being myself—friendly, personable with great service. It’s one thing to complain that service is dead and another thing to do something about it. A honest sweet memorable exchange of interesting quality goods that I find myself. Be it from the flea market or from the major gift marts, everything here is interesting and I want folks to feel inspired. I try to be friendly and helpful to everyone and I tell them that I want to be their florist for life. oh, you meant the space etc. Well… So the cabinetry is oversized (my movers nearly couldn’t get it through the door) and every inch is covered with things to see. My hot boyfriend interior designer was very useful in space planning. We went up very high in the space planning to take advantage of the 18 foot ceiling and also planned the flowers set on a shelf which minimizes the square footage. I probably have 200+ containers packed in here with plants, trees, flowers, gift cards and maybe possibly candles are coming. We also have a cart full of succulents that I push out to the courtyard in front and I have another huge rolling shelf coming for more plants. 

We noted you also ship gorgeous florals to all parts of the country, how do you do it with a small team? 

This isn’t a specialty or something that I do everyday but when you visited a friend was sending a huge box of gardenias to another friends art opening in Seattle. I hear it turned into a bit of a performance art piece where all the guests got to take home gardenias. 

We talked lightly about budget, the $40 bouquet vs the $340 wedding—how do you tackle projects of those different scales and which is harder?

I’m deathly afraid of disappointing folks so it’s all about communicating what we can do on your budget. And budget isn’t a bad word at all. I have deep respect for folks that don’t get into debt to throw a huge wedding for vanity sake when they should have chilled fucking out and enjoyed a picnic in the park with their friends. So yeah I’ve done 12$ bouquets with a few flowers and nice greenery in cool paper and vintage twine but that customer watched me make it and knew what they were getting. But doing a full service wedding or corporate party and pumping out yummy hand wrapped bouquets for customer is much more similar then different. I mean this isn’t a hobby for me—this is a business and has the potential to change the course and quality of my life but the economics are very simple. But for me, it’s maximizing a clients budget rather than using it against them.

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On a side note, being a resident for 20 years: what are some of your favorite city ___________? Fill in the blank. This can be food, destinations, shopping?

I’ve lived on Haight and Fillmore for 20 years this month. So it’s a pretty long list. 

  1. Good Luck Dim Sum on Clement Street.
  2. Bstar for eclectic pan Asian world class eats.
  3. Zuni—yes, get the chicken. It’s one of the best plates of food that will ever be put in front of you.
  4. Goodbyes on Sacramento St.—Second fashion castaways from the Pac Heights folks.
  5. Boudin Baker for clam chowder in a bread bowl.
  6. Golden Boy for square Chicago style pizza. Trust.

Describe the business in 3 words.

Love, service, pretty.

Last thoughts on the business and new space going forward? Only two months in and we’d love to hear positive affirmations.

A gentleman came in. He welcomed me and said he needed some flowers. He said "we have some friends in common, you know my wife Leah and Lydia the lesbian that just had a baby." I told he needs to be more specific. We laughed and chatted for a little bit. He said it was "his job, the job of the neighborhood to come buy things here, if we want a florist." I was really touched. I’ve been touched a few times by the heartfelt exchanges this store has fostered—this store has helped me fall back in love with San Francisco.

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