Pat Flaherty is in the middle of making a wreath, explaining
to me what running a high-end flower and gift store is like. The store is buzzing
with employees, who are trimming and decorating bouquets, wreaths, and all
other kinds of vibrant displays.
She took a few moments to do a quick interview
with Stoneham Patch about remaining a constant in town.
SP: How long have you been here?
PF: Since 1976.
SP: Wow, so you’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go on the main drag here?
PF: Yup. Yup.
SP: How have you survived that long?
PF: (Laughs) I don’t know exactly. We’re a family business and people like that. We had a tragedy in 2007 with a fire here. We lost the building, but we came back in 2009. We only went across the street then, but we’ve been a constant in the square here. But we’re probably one of the last flower shops in the area. In town, anyways. The others are gone. And that worries you because of roadside stands and supermarkets.
SP: I was just about to ask what makes you different from a supermarket’s flower department.
PF: We cater to a great clientele. We can design very specific displays. We are designers, those people are clerks. We do a lot of weddings. And think about it, would you want to go get your wedding bouquet at a supermarket?
SP: And you said this is
a family business. This has been in your family the whole time?
PF: Yup, my daughter and my nieces and friends have all worked here at one time or another. My daughter and my sister’s daughter started working here when they were very young. Then they both went away to college, and they both came back. It worked out well.
SP: How did you wind up in the business?
PF: My sister and I bought the building. She went to flower design school. She would come home, I would take apart her displays and put them back together. Since then, I do plenty of decorations and displays for inside and outside work.
SP: Who are your clients?
PF: Well, we have them from all over. We deliver all over, as long as it isn’t in downtown Boston. But we bring flowers to the hospitals pretty often. Our clients are regular people from Stoneham, Winchester, Reading, Woburn and all around here.
SP: How has the downtown area changed since you’ve been here?
PF: Oh gosh. The area has changed so much. There were lots of little mom and pop stores when we first opened. Little drug stores, hardware stores, little restaurants and coffee shops. All of them are gone. It’s really sad to see. But it’s changed a lot.