Cindy Lopez has run the Merrillville Florist and Tea Room since buying it last fall. Provided/Jaxon

Carrie Steinweg Times correspondent

When Cindy Lopez was a little girl, her dream was to o wn a flower shop. As an adult she has been able to realize that dream. She became the new owner of the Merrillville Florist and Tea Room last December.

“I fell in love with the Merrillville Florist and Tea Room the first time I walked through the door,” said Lopez. “I love the character and charm of the building and the business model overall. For years the previous owner and I would talk and I would say, ‘One day when you are ready to sell, you have to sell to me. I love it here.’ And she would respond with ‘Honey, you can buy it tomorrow.’ ”

Lopez said she and previous owner Ramona McCrovitz would laugh, not realizing that the other was serious. She heard in September 2019 that McCrovitz had sold the shop. She called to offer her congratulations and express that she really did want to own it one day. “It just so happened that the sale had fallen through prior to my call,” she said. “Needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity and here we are.”

When she purchased the business, the tea room had been closed for about 18 months. Once they started the sale process, Lopez worked out an agreement with McCrovitz to re-open the tea room.

“It was greatly missed in the community, and tea-room patrons were eager to return, especially with the holidays approaching. We knew we needed the menu and the service to be perfect, so we started training in the kitchen, learning the original recipes as well as cooking and plating techniques in October. We were able to re-open the tea room in early November and took over the entire business officially in December,” said Lopez.

Lopez had worked for 15 years as campaign director for retiring U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky. The timing worked well as she said she learned of the opportunity with the florist and tea room around the time Congressman Visclosky decided he would not seek re-election.

“It has been an interesting transition and kind of bittersweet as my career with Congressman Visclosky comes to a close and my time with the Merrillville Florist and Tea Room is just beginning,” she said.

Lopez is a native of Northwest Indiana and a graduate of Lake Central High School and Purdue University Northwest.

As a child, Lopez had an interest in flowers and would plant them with her mother and grandmother. “I always knew I wanted to be surrounded by beauty and dreamed of owning a flower shop for as long as I can remember,” said Lopez. “Then growing up I was raised in a way that encouraged me to recognize the feelings that flowers bring and the significance they represent in people’s everyday lives and special moments,” said Lopez.

She’s pleased that her dream has come true in a place where she has […]