Photo courtesy of Elsie Hernandez
Dorothy Stepnowska and David Dzurik at the grand opening of Flower Power Coffee House on Myrtle Avenue on April 20.

Sitting inside the back room of Dorothy Stepnowska’s flower shop in Glendale, it’s easy to forget that the storefront is located along bustling Myrtle Avenue. It’s surprisingly quiet, with Victorian-style couches, floral decor and an open door to an outdoor “secret garden” letting in a cool breeze.

A cup of coffee with a certain calming ingredient only enhances that atmosphere.

Formerly known as the Secret Garden flower shop, the storefront was renovated to include a cafe inside and will now serve coffee, tea and pastries that are infused with cannabidiol (CBD), an increasingly popular extract of the marijuana plant. With its grand opening on April 20, the newly named Flower Power Coffee House, NYC became the first brick-and-mortar location in Queens that sells CBD-infused products, according to shop owner Stepnowska.

When she first opened the flower shop in June of 2016, Stepnowska had enough room to host educational events, weddings, parties and yoga classes, and expanding her business was simply a better way to utilize that space, she said.

“I thought about it like, you know what, I love coffee. I have the space. Why not?” Stepnowska said. She then closed the shop for a few months for the renovations and to make sure she followed the necessary steps in changing her business, which included presenting her plan to Community Board 5 and the 104th Precinct, she said.

Explaining the benefits of CBD was a major part of those presentations. The compound found in marijuana plants is known to provide relief from acute pain, seizures, depression, inflammation and more. Unlike the more commonly known tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there is no psychoactive effect or high associated with CBD use. In fact, the compound is commonly used in medically focused cannabis products and is legal in all 50 states.

Yet, there is still a minor stigma associated with CBD products among those who don’t see past the fact that it comes from marijuana, Stepnowska said. She plans to host seminars at the coffee shop to better educate people about the extract.

“A lot of people are afraid to introduce that into the coffee shops, but it’s legal,” Stepnowska said. “You don’t get high on it, and you’re chilled out. Two-in-one, that’s what people want. CBD is the best thing.”

Indeed, having a cup of the coffee — made by Deez CBD Coffee Founder David Dzurik — induces a slight calming effect that has no euphoria involved. The coffee also tastes like a quality coffee, with no other taste or evidence of the CBD’s presence. Stepnowska raved about Dzurik’s product and said that he was able to fly in from Colorado to attend the grand opening. 

Stepnowska also noted that she already wants to raise the amount of CBD in the products from 30 milligrams to 60 milligrams in the interest of being sure her customers are getting exactly what she’s advertising.

“Anything I sell in my shop, I want to make sure it’s legit and it’s pure,” Stepnowska said. “You want to know what you’re selling. This is what it is, even if I have to pay extra.”

The grand-opening event attracted many people from the neighborhood who wanted to sample the CBD products, in part because Stepnowska has lived in Glendale for nine years and knows so many people, she said. The products are only the beginning, however; Stepnowska is planning on not only bringing in more CBD-infused goods, but also hosting outdoor movie nights, live bands, karaoke, comedy and wine tasting.

Dzurik, who was first inspired to create his company after beating cancer and using cannabis products during treatment, said making the trip to Queens was well worth it for the experience he had at the grand opening.

The reactions people had on their faces when they drank the coffee,” Dzurik said. “Everybody came in peacefully and left even more calm. It was awesome.”

The shop will also still sell flowers and small gifts. When asked what she enjoys most about owning her business, Stepnowska reflected on a time when she welcomed local preschool students into the shop to learn about plants.

“I just love to give back to the community, because it’s important,” Stepnowska said. “These are the people that actually support your business. People know who I am. I’m well respected, and that’s the way I want to keep it.”

The Flower Power Coffee House, NYC is not associated in any way with Flower Power Coffee Co., which was written about in previous QNS articles. 



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