SPRINGVILLE—While it looks different than how it began in the 1930s, the Rumfola Farm is still going strong in Springville. The family farm still sits on Vaughn Street, there’s still a roadside vegetable stand and it’s still owned by a member of the Rumfola family.
But it’s now known as The Flower Stand, a unique one-acre space on the farm that lets customers pick their own flowers. Owned by Ellen and Jon Krzemien, The Flower Stand offers a hands-on experience for patrons.
Giving customers that experience is how Krzemien herself got into farming. Growing up on the farm, she learned through her father, Joe Rumfola.
“He taught me everything I know about growing,” Krzemien said. “He’s been farming this land as long as I can remember.”
Due to the family history, Krzemien felt it was important to continue the legacy of the Vaughn Street property. Her idea to turn it into a flower growing business was met with a little resistance from her grandfather, though he was able to see her vision come to life and appreciated it.
“My grandfather, so the patriarch of the family, was astonished by what I was able to do,” she said. “He was able to see it come to fruition.”
As for her father, he’s been an asset to Krzemien, both by teaching her how to grow and helping her make the Flower Stand a success.
“He’s helped us starting seeds … he’s been the brains behind the whole thing,” she said. “I just kind of piggy-backed onto what he had growing.”
Moving forward, Krzemien hopes to continue the legacy of the Rumfola Farm for the next generation. With a little help from key players in Western New York, she’s one step closer.
Krzemien earned $25,000 through Ignite Buffalo, a small business grant competition presented by 43North. The grant and mentorship program promotes sustainable growth, job creation and ongoing education to local small business owners. The Flower Stand was named one of 27 finalists, which, along with the grant money, provides a year-long mentoring program.
“The business mentoring will be provided by Western New York business leaders and will include everything from accounting, personnel and legal issues to marketing, social media and networking,” Krzemien said. “I can’t even imagine the financial value of that. It’s worth its weight in gold.”
She plans to utilize the funding for farm repairs and a “much-needed” greenhouse, which will help extend the growing season. Krzemien would like to grow flowers from Mother’s Day into November, and a greenhouse or hoop house will help accomplish that. With that, she hopes to continue the success of the stand, which has been operational for four years.
“I see myself growing into a Western New York destination spot … bringing people into Springville,” Krzemien said. “I think that can help all of us who live in Springville.”
That vision might not be too far in the distance, The Flower Stand has already welcomed visitors from Rochester, Watkins Glen, Grand Island and Lockport. Each week, Krzemien sets up in Buffalo’s Larkin Square, and encourages her patrons to take the drive to Springville.
“I have to tell them ‘It’s not that far, and it’s such a beautiful drive down’,” she said. “Larkin Square is great visibility … but the flower field, that’s my comfort zone.”
When people step onto the u-pick garden, Krzemien enjoys talking with them and listening to their stories about flowers. Calling herself “the face” of the farm, making a personal connection helps bring customers back.
“There’s always a personal connection with flowers,” she said. “Maybe someone remembers delias growing outside [their] grandma’s house or that [their] dad used to pick gladiolus for [their] mom. I love hearing those stories.”
And for Krzemien, the personal connection for her will always be part of her farm.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to my dad for showing me the rules,” she said.
The Flower Stand is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning July 21. For more information, visit EllenKDesign.com, or visit them on Facebook. The Flower Stand is located at 13171 Vaughn St.