Spring seems to be just around the corner. While snow still blankets the majority of our backyard here in Vermont, the warmer temps are beginning to make an appearance in our forecast. With this, we eagerly await hints of green and blossoming buds. Boy, are we itching to feel spring’s warmth and see all the growth that comes with it. We miss cutting our own herbs for breakfast, watering the flower beds, and even mowing the lawn. Are you feeling the same winter blues? Well, we have the solution. A greenhouse or garden shop can serve as a tranquil retreat around this time of year, and the flora found in Apotheca Flowers makes for one of the best sanctuaries we can recommend. We walk in and immediate feel the thaw in our cold fingers and toes. It’s our own little oasis, complete with abundant greenery and coffee aroma.
Apotheca is nestled in the small town of Goffstown NH. Situated in the old Goffstown Train Station from the 1860’s, the charm of this cafe/garden store is evident from the get-go. Walking up the wooden steps, you can see the camaraderie inside from the front windows. Everyone is chatting away, greeting each entrant as an old friend. In fact, most of the people in the cafe are friends, or at least acquaintances. The sense of community here is strong, and certainly a comforting reception for newcomers. The warmth and calmness of the space is felt immediately upon entering.
This was owner Alyssa Van Guilder’s intention. Inspiration and kindness embody her daily ethos. She describes Apotheca as a manifestation of the phrase, “L’ARTE D’ARRANGIARSI” – making something out of nothing. You see, Alyssa grew up in rural Alaska with her siblings and parents. She watched as her parents ran a local cafe on the Denali Highway, a place in which the local community and visitors gathered and conversed. Alyssa remained keen on this astounding sense of community, as well as the hard work and rewarding nature involved in tending to a place such as this. Despite relocating from Alaska to Minnesota to New Hampshire, Alyssa maintained her love for gardening. She remembers the impressive underground greenhouse in her Alaskan neighbor’s yard and working on a family farm in Minnesota. It appears that so many influences from her childhood have led to this point in her life today.
In 2005, Alyssa and her two young children took a leap of faith to fulfill her dream of opening up a storefront. Alyssa, with the help of her family, built Apotheca into what it is today. Her mom worked with the books, while her father and brothers worked on various projects throughout the shop. Most importantly, Alyssa notes, the community of this quaint New England town showed acceptance toward her, her family, and this little dream-come-true project.
The name “Apotheca” was chosen for its Latin meaning, which is a storehouse or variety. This is so perfectly suited to Alyssa’s eclectic style. Canvases by local artists are accompanied by mounted staghorn ferns, macrame planters, antique frames, and brightly colored garlands. The atmosphere is intriguing – it pulls you in and evokes inspiration in every corner. In addition, Alyssa mentions, “fresh flowers and plants … remind us that life is fleeting and beautiful and must be nurtured.” The cafe complements the expressive greenery in the shop, as “a cup of something delicious [is] an invitation to sit down and BE … whether it is with yourself and your own thoughts, or together at a shared table … communities, fellowship, and growth are built around filled cups.”
For anyone looking for a warm latte or a little green in their life, Apotheca is without a doubt the place for you. Terrariums, big and small, are abundant amongst beautiful cards, home styling knick-knacks, and an incredibly impressive assortment of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Alyssa can’t praise this product enough! She uses it in her store constantly.). Velvet-clad chairs and vibrant leather seats adorn lounging areas throughout the shop. A guitar leans against the fireplace to inspire any musically-inclined visitor. Think: Terrain meets Paper Source meets your favorite local coffee shop. Apotheca is perfectly casual with the most stimulating ambiance.
Not in the Goffstown area? They have services outside the shop as well! Peruse Apotheca’s Instagram and website to get a glimpse of what Alyssa and her talented team have created for weddings and other special occasions. Their work is incredible. They also have a selection of their in-store products available online! Be sure to take a look at their upcoming in-store events as well – it may be worth the visit!
We visited just before Valentine’s Day, for which we must thank Alyssa! In what we can easily assume is Alyssa’s true nature, she showed no hesitation in taking a little break from the busy workshop to chat with us over a cup of delicious coffee. She knows her customers by name and interacts with the employees like family. Overall, we can see how Apotheca is an authentic indication of Alyssa’s personality – gentle, sweet, fun, and quirky…not to mention, she has incredible taste. Apotheca is Alyssa’s passion project, and it’s nothing short of extraordinary.
We encourage you to stop into Apotheca, especially if you are traveling to or from Woodstock and Boston. A great cup of coffee awaits, along with various tokens of a beautifully curated shop. We have nothing but wonderful things to say about Alyssa and the others working there, and we can’t think of a better place to sit, relax, chat with friends, or read a book. Stop into the town of Goffstown and this beautiful shop in the village. You won’t regret it.