LEO Design has again expanded its local presence, as well as its range of services, with the opening of a new location in Wyomissing in Berks County.
The event planning and décor rental service acquired Wishes Entertaining and Event Design from Boscov’s in October 2021, after bouncing back from a lockdown-era drop in business.
LEO grew significantly throughout the post-COVID era, and since the Wishes acquisition, has hired additional staff.
“We now have a staff of 14, which is huge, coming from the downturn of 2020 when we had to lay people off,” said Heather Pasko, owner and executive event planner of LEO Design.
Heather Pasko, center, cuts the ribbon with her team as LEO Design Gallery has expanded with a floral market at its new location, 1295 Penn Ave., Wyomissing, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 (BILL UHRICH – MEDIANEWS GROUP)
The new store
LEO’s momentum reached new heights Nov. 3, with the grand opening of its store at 1295 Penn Avenue in Wyomissing.
The company’s move from its prior location in West Reading enables LEO to expand into the floral market — the new store contains a full flower shop, offering fresh arrangements for sale.
Floral installations made in-house are now also an option at LEO events, adding to the company’s repertoire of furniture, lighting, tabletop and drapery services.
LEO’s goal has always been to attract the Philadelphia-area market to Berks — the company has a second location in King of Prussia — but the new store aims to address everyday floral needs locally, Pasko said.
Floral design will be overseen by the company’s newly hired head florist, Kristen Gardy, a 20-year industry veteran.
“We couldn’t do what we’re doing without her talents,” Pasko said of Gardy, “She really is someone who makes magic happen.”
Part of that magic will involve setting up installations around the shop that are social media-worthy, Pasko said.
“You’ll be seeing unique installations by our doors and inside the showroom,” Pasko said, “and inside the showrooms there are areas for TikTok and Instagram photos.”
In response to feedback, Pasko also said the store’s showroom will be available to rent as a party space, for cocktail parties, girl’s nights, and similar events.
For those curious about floral design and other event planning subjects, LEO is also planning classes at the store.
In addition, the store sells a variety of gifts that match with flowers, including chocolates, candles, journals, gift baskets, and coffee via a partnership with Reading Coffee Company.
“We tried to think, what are the cool things in Philadelphia that people would have to drive to get. We’re trying to bring those items to the area,” Pasko said, “We also want to help local companies sell their products.”
Offering real value
Providing value to the community is important to Pasko, who started LEO Design in 2000 — at the time called Lovely Events and Occasions — after wilted flowers and poor-quality catering made her own wedding go awry.
“I thought, well if I can help one person have a better wedding day than I did, it would make it all better,” Pasko said with a laugh.
Pasko began on her own, without a storefront, but a series of successfully planned events led her to open LEO’s first shop in West Reading in 2009.
Her husband, Gregory Paul, joined the staff in 2010 as head of LEO’s rental and décor division.
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
Grand, artistic installations with a luxurious feel are the hallmark of LEO’s designs, according to Pasko.
“Things that are difficult to do yourself are things that we’re bringing to the area,” Pasko said, “avant-garde, art based. Something a little different.”
She said that the Wyomissing store itself is designed 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.
LEO Design Gallery has expanded with a floral market at its new location, 1295 Penn Ave., Wyomissing, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)
While much of LEO’s business comes from weddings, the company is equipped to handle planning for any event, from house parties to corporate gatherings.
The interior of LEO Design Gallery at its new location in Wyomissing. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)
The company boasts a staggering array of rental furniture of every style, from sleek, modern plush to vintage chairs that resemble a royal throne.
That variety of décor gives LEO’s everything they need to capitalize on their creativity.
“We have a lot of artistic, creative people,” Pasko said.
Currently, the company’s holiday division, LEO’s Elves, is hard at work decorating local businesses and putting up Christmas lights, Pasko said.
She said she’s excited to continue bringing her vision for LEO Design to life.
“I don’t think there’s anything else like it in the world, when an event goes well,” Pasko said, “How many days are the best day of someone’s life? I get to help be the reason why the day went so well, and to me, that’s priceless.”