Over more than three decades White Plains has experienced significant changes.
But over that time period there has been one constant – Carriage House Flowers.
White Plains native and resident John Di Pilato opened Carriage House Flowers on E. Post Road 35 years ago.
Di Pilato has been in the retail flowers business since he was a youth working for a florist after school. “I continued to work at different flower shops,” he said. “During the early ‘80s there were a lot of stores vacant in town and I was living out of town and I felt this would be the best place for me to start a business.”
Di Pilato said he enjoys the flower business because he “makes people happy.”
Carriage House Flowers provides its products “from births to funerals to corporate work to events every day,” Di Pilato said. The days leading up to Mother’s Day each year are his busiest every year.
Di Pilato’s business delivers flowers throughout Westchester County and to portions of Fairfield County in Connecticut. “I’m very popular in town,” Di Pilato said.
In listing the most popular flowers he sells, “roses are always number one,” Di Pilato said. Other customer favorites include imported, upscale flowers, including daisies and French tulips, he said. The store also offers plants, including plants sold to corporations, and “everything that pertains to the flower industry.”
The business of selling flowers is competitive with shops not only competing against other brick and mortar stores, but against such online sellers as Pro Flowers. The keys to the success of his business are “service and quality,” Di Pilato said, noting his satisfied customers have expressed their support on Yelp.
“Now you’re even competing against gas stations carrying flowers,” Di Pilato said. “Everybody wants to carry flowers.”
To have his store differentiate itself from others businesses that carry flowers, “I give good quality. I give good value and we’re super nice to our customers,” Di Pilato said.
Di Pilato said his goal was to give his business to his children, “Hopefully they’ll see it’s a lucrative business,” he said.
There are both pros and cons to running your own business, Di Pilato explained. One of the downsides is that there are periods when I must work every day, including holidays, because I’m “always on call,” he said.
An upside to business ownership is having good staff to allow him to take longer periods off than other people. Unlike many workers who are limited to two weeks off, as a business owner “I can do five of them,” Di Pilato said.
Owning and operating his store for such a long period, “I know all the retailers (in the area),” Di Pilato said. “I’ve seen everybody come and go and I think White Plains is a great place to do business.”
Carriage House Flowers is located at141 E. Post Rd. in White Plains. For more information call 914-997-9057 or visit https://www.mycarriagehouseflowers.com/?sid=3t25j522l3a22mfjxvfuqdrk&searchwords=&viewedpreviously=. The business also has a Facebook page.