7 Questions with Marty McGreevy of Market Blooms in the North Market

Taylor Starek

When owner Marty McGreevy first opened Market Blooms in 1990, the North Market was still in a World War II surplus Quonset Hut.

And when it moved over to the old Advanced Thresher warehouse at 59 Spruce St., she went right along with it.

Over the past 25 years, McGreevy has watched the market, and the surrounding area, transform into a booming, tourist-filled neighborhood. She's observed the comings and goings of merchants-from Jeni Britton Bauer's first scoop shop to the closing of longtime, and beloved, stand Gatterdam Eggs-and the gentrification of a neighborhood that wasn't, as she says, "a place you'd want to go after dark."

In celebration of Market Blooms 25th anniversary, we chatted with McGreevy about the early days, what she likes to eat at the market and, of course, her favorite flower.

In what ways has the market evolved since you first arrived?

When I first moved into the market, it was kind of a very downtrodden area, and the only reason anyone went here was because it was the North Market. It wasn't a place you'd want to go to after dark, so, you know, I spent around six years in the old building with the plan that we were going to move to a new market the next year, but it kept getting bumped, and finally, after six years, we moved to the new building. All of a sudden someone built a convention center and someone built an arena and the Short North was being developed, so it turned into a diamond as the years went on. That was the biggest change.

To what do you attribute your longevity?

I think as owner and operator I've been very hands-on, very attentive to my business, which has been a good thing. We have always been conscious about price point and staying competitive. Quality has always been a priority and customer service. I think we were kind of doing cash and carry flowers before really anyone else in the city. … We were offering Columbus the widest selection of fresh flowers 25 years ago. You just didn't see it in all the grocery stores. I stayed competitive by becoming a better buyer.

What's your busiest holiday?

Valentine's Day.

How can you make a floral arrangement last longer?

Fresh cut, fresh water. Everyone has an aspirin or a penny or a little bleach, but basically you're just keeping the water as clean as possible. Cut [the flowers] and change the water every couple of days.

What do you love to eat at the market?

I like a tuna sandwich from The Fish Guys. I like a slice of pizza every once in a while and a Firdous salad.

What's the most unique thing you've done or made with flowers?

We use them in anything that holds water. I've used green peppers as vases. I've done them at my house when I do a long farm-table look for a dinner party in the summer. I just find a flat-bottom green pepper, hollow it out and pour water in it, and it's ready to go. I put Hostas from my yard in them.

Your favorite flower?

My favorite is lilacs. They're not really a commercially well-grown flower. I do guerilla gardening. You'll catch me in alleys everywhere and at my mother's. It's funny because since I've been in Columbus I'm on the third house I've lived in, and each time I do move I dig up lilacs from our old house or my mother's, and I plant little lilacs from my family every place I've ever been. I've even put them in the alleys in Victorian Village. So it's my favorite even though it's not one I can purchase and sell.

P.S. It's our anniversary too. CelebrateColumbus Monthlyat 40.