Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially with the intricate, custom wreaths made by Cedar Grove Garden Center sprouting up around town.
Rafaela Dominguez of Haledon has been tirelessly creating wreaths, arches and Christmas trees of all sizes since their busy season picked up after Thanksgiving.
Dominguez has worked at Cedar Grove Garden Center for 11 years and knows just what her long-time customers are looking for.
“I love to do this,” she said. “I start with something in mind but you never know what its going to look like in the end.”
Dominguez's colleagues call her creative and clever and her customers keep coming back because they are thrilled with the wreaths they get every year. She keeps a file and a picture of every wreath and arch they sell so when customers call in and ask for the same thing they had last year, Dominguez knows exactly what they want.
Dominguez has made many wreaths around town, some of the most notable being the wreath on Pilgrim Diner in Cedar Grove, the wreaths and arches at Egan and Sons Bar and Restaurant in Montclair and the wreath at Durkin and Durkin law firm in West Caldwell.
First, to make a wreath, they secure the branches onto a circular metal frame and tie it down with wire. Once the layers are complete, its time to decorate.
“People come in and pick out ribbons and decorations and we put it together,” said Dominguez.
Customers choose from a huge assortment of decorations or can look to some of the wreaths and trees on display for ideas.
“In here we do whatever the customer picks, said Dominguez. “Customers come back here because they can choose everything themselves.”
Each wreath is unique and no two are exactly alike, she said.
Depending on the size of the wreath, and how lavish the decorations, Dominguez can finish one start to finish in about two hours.
“In one day I can complete five big ones,” she said. “You don't stop when you finish one, you just keep going and start on the next one.
She loves decorating for the holidays but its the customers that keeps Dominguez going.
“When people take the time to call in and tell us how much they like the wreaths, it makes me very proud,” she said.
Cedar Grove Garden Center is located at 1201 Pompton Ave. in Cedar Grove.