A Family Business Memory - Part 3

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Push on, the journey to the unknown

RI News Today wants you to get to know our Rhode Island business owners. Many have fought the hard fight to climb to success and to stay in business. In this series, we will be featuring the history of “The Tree House” which is one of Rhode Island’s greatest treasurers located on Centerville Road in Warwick. Co-Owner Michael Gerard takes us in a stroll down memory lane. So, look for our feature and enjoy! Congratulations to the entire “Ferns and Flowers” now the “Tree House” Family  as they celebrate forty years in business !

Join them for a celebration April 11th from 5-9PM


How I dated on a little money

We did things other shops didn’t, to stay current on bills. One service was watering plants and servicing restaurants.

I was introduced on a blind date to a young lady. An employee of The Down Under Restaurant, where I worked creating the seasonal decor, had a roommate.  he, an amazing, talented girl who was also a violin teacher, and performer, also loved to cook and bake and was working on her master’s degree. Well I fell head over heels!!

I proposed at l’Elizabeth’s on South Main Street. It was a super special, romantic place!

Dating was a challenge; back then, $75 a week didn’t go far. We would go out Friday for a dinner for two, and that left enough for three donuts and two coffees on Sunday morning.  She still said yes to this humble boy.

Today, I realize all the costs involved in running a restaurant. It’s not the tea bag, it’s all the things that go into serving it... the lemon, cream, sugar, laundry services for the linen napkin, the dishwasher lease, the person to run it, the water bill and sewer tax....and the taxes on the table you are sitting at!

Yes, each year the city will count the furniture for value. I said but wait, that table was from the curb, my neighbor was done with it, it cost $0. Oh, but it has value! Ugh. Every year!?! One of many taxes. “Litter control fee tax?”....

The early dating days showed me that it is a luxury to go out to dine, but if you are smart, you can have something unique, and a memorable date, at a reasonable cost. That’s why although we have many luxury items, like Lobster BLT, or fresh caught local fish, we include shareable items. The Tree House grilled pizza or a Mac & Cheese are perfect for sharing. The two pretzels and beer cheese dip, coupled with two of our lighter cocktails or our non-alcohol cocktails are also an affordable treat. If I  knew then what I do now, I could have stretched my $75 into three date nights!

We realize there are so many wonderful restaurants to enjoy in Rhode Island and we appreciate all our guests visiting us. Come join us at the Tree House, make your first date a great date!

Push, push, push on, the journey to the unknown

The unwritten rule was that at the fifth year in business you’ll have made it, and crossed the line of struggling. Well, the economy at the fifth and tenth year didn’t help us feel that our struggle was over.

I found a four-poster bed in the neighbor’s trash, cut it and used the posts to create the “shark tooth” gingerbread details. I fashioned the window awnings to enhance the Victorian romantic look. Thanks to The Victoria Magazine being so popular we painted the old skid shutters a berry color. Inside we added better quality giftware and gourmet gift baskets.


Holiday windows in the early years

We constructed fabric “melting” snowmen for a feature window. This particular year was extra difficult, so instead of spending money in New York for props, the mother of invention took over. I guess I should rename my mom, Mrs. Invention!


Celebrating a 40-year history of creating romance!  Xoxoxo!

Join us April 11th. 5:00-9:00 to Celebrate the love!

Ferns and Flowers Ltd/ The Tree House Tavern

 -Michael Gerard


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