Page 13 - Wallingford Magazine Holiday 2019
P. 13

 by Lynne Grobsky
Many businesses in down-
town Wallingford on Center
Street have come and gone over
the years, with one exception,
The Wallingford Flower and
Gift Shoppe opened its doors
in 1950, and it has been going
strong ever since. It is owned
by the Greco family, who has
deep roots here in Walling-
ford. The history of this family
business is rich with commu-
nity connections and support.
Many businesses were started
after WWII when soldiers re-
turned home, and this was one
of them. The business today is
run by son Sal Greco and his
mother Ann. Ann, at 93 still
works every day! She works
five full days a week with no lunch break. She loves every minute and feels that the shop is her home, long-term customers are family to her. Father Sal Greco and Ann have left a wonderful legacy to his family and to the Wallingford community.
Father Sal returned from WWII and went to work for his father, who had a greenhouse operation of his own and who also worked for A. N. Pierson’s Greenhouses in Cromwell. Sal’s father and uncles were instrumental in developing new breeds and varieties of flowers in the late 1940’s and 50’s. He attended the Reiger School of Floral Design, then went to work for a couple of shops in the Hartford area. He met Ann Spada in Middletown where they both grew up. They married in 1948. Sal went to Wallingford to “check it out” at the suggestion of a friend and Sal & Ann instantly fell in love with it. They rented the present location at 190 Center street in 1950, bought a house on South Orchard Street and raised their family there. They developed a large base of customers and friends. Ann was ac- tive in many civic and business organizations. Sal was a lifelong musician and played countless wed-
dings and celebrations. Sal be- longed to every fraternal orga- nization there was in order to become a part of Wallingford’s community and fabric. Sal and Ann also had a strong belief in giving back to the community through donations to charita- ble organizations.
Young Sal is the youngest of three children. He “grew up” on Center Street and remem- bers the weekly Friday night shopping with live music. He knew all the local business owners and has seen many changes over the years. Busi- nesses such as Caplan’s Mar- ket, Wolfs, Rubins, DiFrancos, Larri-Anns luncheonette, Dick- erman’s Hardware, Lynch’s Clothing, DiNoia’s TV and Ap-
pliances, Foote’s Ice Cream, and Moran’s Drug Store all flourished at one time.
There are several factors that have contributed to the success of Wallingford Flower and Gift Shop- pe. Son Sal said that it is through adhering to their mission to meet and exceed people’s expectations. He strives to give great value in a timely fashion. Sal’s father always said, “Don’t worry about the money. Make the customer happy and the mon- ey will follow.” Son Sal said, “We do what we say we’re going to do.” The Greco family has sought to establish life-long relationships with families and customers many of which are third generation customers. They have succeeded to a high degree because of their high integrity and consistency.
The industry has changed over the years with the advent of places like Stop ‘n Shop and internet commerce providing easy access to flowers. The younger Sal has made changes in the type of niche the shop fills. The shop has evolved into custom made-to-order floral designs, and wedding and event decor which are unique in the world of the pre-assembled mass flower market. Sal meets with
 Holiday window display.

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