LEO Design expands with new store in Wyomissing – 71Bait

LEO Design has once again expanded its local presence and service offering with the opening of a new location in Wyomissing, Berks County.

The event planning and decorations rental company acquired Wishes Entertaining and Event Design from Boscov’s in October 2021 after recovering from a lockdown-era downturn.

LEO has grown significantly during the post-COVID era and has hired additional staff since acquiring Wishes.

“We now have 14 employees, which is huge given that we had to lay off staff following the 2020 downturn,” said Heather Pasko, owner and lead events planner at LEO Design.

Heather Pasko, center, cuts the ribbon with her team as the LEO Design Gallery expands with a flower market at its new location, 1295 Penn Ave., Wyomissing, Thursday, November 3, 2022 (BILL UHRICH – MEDIANEWS GROUP)

The new store

LEO’s momentum reached new heights on November 3 with the grand opening of its store at 1295 Penn Avenue in Wyomissing.

The company’s move from its previous location in West Reading allows LEO to expand into the flower market – the new store includes a full flower shop offering fresh arrangements for sale.

Floral installations made in-house are also now an option at LEO events, expanding the company’s repertoire of furniture, lighting, tabletops and curtains.

LEO’s goal has always been to lure the Philadelphia-area market to Berks — the company has a second location in King of Prussia — but the new store aims to meet everyday floral needs locally, Pasko said.

Floral design will be led by the company’s newly hired chief florist, Kristen Gardy, a 20-year industry veteran.

“We couldn’t do what we do without their talents,” Pasko said of Gardy. “She really is someone who makes magic happen.”

Part of that magic will be setting up social media-friendly installations around the store, Pasko said.

“You will see unique installations on our doors and in the showroom,” Pasko said, “and there are areas for TikTok and Instagram photos in the showrooms.”

Responding to the feedback, Pasko also said the store’s showroom can be rented out as a party space, for cocktail parties, girls’ nights out and similar events.

For those interested in floral design and other event planning topics, LEO is also planning in-store classes.

Additionally, through a partnership with Reading Coffee Company, the store sells a variety of floral-themed gifts, including chocolates, candles, magazines, gift baskets and coffee.

“We were trying to think of what are the cool things in Philadelphia that people would need to drive for. We’re trying to get these items local,” Pasko said. “We also want to help local businesses sell their products.”

Offer real added value

Adding value to the community is important to Pasko, who founded LEO Design in 2000 – then called Lovely Events and Occasions – after wilted flowers and poor catering caused her own wedding to go awry.

“I thought if I could help one person have a better wedding day than I did, it would make everything better,” Pasko said, laughing.

LEO DESIGNS
Heather Pasko

Pasko started out on her own with no physical store but a series of successfully planned events led to her opening LEO’s first store in West Reading in 2009.

Her husband, Gregory Paul, joined the workforce in 2010 as head of LEO’s rental and decorating department.

Both Pasko and Paul grew up in Berks County.

“He’s vital in our company, he’s really the man behind the designs,” Pasko said of Paul.

A flair for artistry

According to Pasko, great artistic installations with a luxurious feel are the hallmark of LEO’s designs.

“Things that are difficult to do yourself, we bring to the area,” said Pasko, “avant-garde, art-based. Something a little different.”

She said the Wyomissing store itself was conceived as an ode to the beauty of small European flower shops.

“We’re trying to bring a little nod to Europe, as well as some of the inspiration from Philadelphia,” Pasko said.

The LEO Design Gallery has expanded to include a flower market at its new location, 1295 Penn Ave., Wyomissing, Thursday, November 3, 2022 (BILL UHRICH – LESEADLER)
The LEO Design Gallery has expanded to include a flower market at its new location, 1295 Penn Ave., Wyomissing, Thursday, November 3, 2022 (BILL UHRICH – LESEADLER)

While much of LEO’s business comes from weddings, the company is able to take on the planning for any event, from house parties to corporate gatherings.

The interior of the LEO Design Gallery at its new location in Wyomissing.  (BILL UHRICH - READING EAGLE)
The interior of the LEO Design Gallery at its new location in Wyomissing. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

The company has an amazing range of furniture rentals of all styles, from sleek, modern plush chairs to vintage chairs designed to resemble a royal throne.

This variety of decorations gives LEOs everything they need to capitalize on their creativity.

“We have a lot of artistic, creative people,” Pasko said.

Currently, the company’s Christmas division, LEO’s Elves, is hard at work decorating local stores and putting up holiday lights, Pasko said.

She said she looks forward to continuing to bring her vision for LEO Design to life.

“I don’t think there’s anything else in the world that compares when an event goes well,” said Pasko, “how many days are the best days in a person’s life? I’m the reason the day went so well and to me that’s priceless.”

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