EXETER – Carmen’s Flowers and Gifts on Wyoming Avenue has been an area staple since 1926.
Helen Mauriello, along with her children Andrea and Carmen Mauriello, own the business, with emphasis both on tradition and continuing growth.
The secret to the business’ success, the owners say, is catering to the needs of their customers, offering both time-honored favorites and contemporary arrangements.
“It’s like all businesses,” Carmen Mauriello said. “It’s a lot of hard work and knowing the needs of customers.”
The business was started by Carmen’s grandparents Carmen and Catherine Mauriello, Italian immigrants who came to America for a better life.
“My grandfather was working in a flower show for a short time, and he wanted to provide for his family,” he said. “So he opened his own flower shop.”
From the beginning, the shop offered flowers for funerals, weddings and holidays, which remain much the same to this day.
Other offerings have been introduced in response to customers’ needs and requests.
“One thing that is really popular are the balloons,” said Mauriello. “We do a lot of creative things, including archways for weddings and other events.”
Andrea Mauriello also emphasized the business consistently keeps up with current trends.
“For example, we also carry plants,” she said “Perfect to send if someone is opening a business or celebrating an anniversary.”
The flower shop carries potted plants in a variety of sizes, perfect for a windowsill or a desk top.
Both Andrea and Carmen said the business brings a sense of continuity to its customers, with many coming back year after year, marking a range of family events from the celebration of births to funerals.
Floral designer Joan Alexander has been with the business for 35 years, with a knowledge of both flowers and customer needs, making her invaluable to the business.
“It’s really a combination of long-time customers and new customers,” said Carmen Mauriello. “We serve a broad area. Some customers just found out that we’re here.”
The owners say their location, a main thoroughfare on the West Side of the Susquehanna River with a central location between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, provides great benefit, with the business delivering daily to both cities and the surrounding area.
The business has a website that allows customers to go online for same-day delivery.
“But, if you want something today, it’s probably best to call us,” said Carmen Mauriello. “We know what flowers are in stock and we can give suggestions of what might be the best fit for your needs.”
Andrea Mauriello said the business is all about flowers and about family.
“This is now the third generation of the business providing flowers to customers for proms, weddings, and other events,” she said. “We serve anyone who comes through the door for whatever they might need.”
A new addition to the business is balloon artist Dominick Bartoli who came out of retirement to continue sharing his creativity with others.
Bartoli said he’s still having fun designing balloons and helping customers choose balloons perfect for any occasion.
Bartoli is quick to respond to the needs of the customer, even if that means cancelling an occasional order.
“I’ve had a balloon release scheduled for a wedding and I noticed that it was going to rain,” he said. “So, I called and said, ‘You might not be able to do this.’”
Carmen’s father, Andrew Mauriello, who served as the borough’s mayor for over 30 years, passed away in 2006, but Carmen’s mother Helen, 91, still pitches in during Memorial Day preparations.
“It’s our busiest day,” said Andrea. “So she’s here designing flowers.”
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