Nearly four decades have passed since Joe Shadroui came to the Town with flowers in hand, but his reign over the petals is coming to an end this month.
Through his Bunker Hill Florist business, now owned with his husband Larry Bowling, they have processed around 112,500 orders for flowers in Charlestown – and that’s only since they started keeping records. That’s hundreds and thousands of special occasions, funerals and Valentine’s Days.
“We’ve watched Charlestown grow up in a lot of ways,” said Shadroui last Friday as they took down the iconic Bunker Hill Florist sign at the Main Street store. “We cannot thank Charlestown residents and businesses enough for their support and loyalty. We are grateful that we have been part of this wonderful community.”
To celebrate their time in the Town, Shadroui and Bowling – along with so many of their staff from over the years – will hold a farewell gathering on Sunday, June 24, at Sorelle’s City Square from 3-5 p.m.
“It’s a chance for us to say good bye and thank you to all our customers from over the many years,” said Shadroui.
Charlestown’s Diane Valle presided over the sale of the real estate and business, which will now land in the coming weeks with Amanda Mitchell of Place & Gather on the Training Field. She will call the business ‘June Bug.’
“Joe and Larry offered a beautiful place to shop for flowers, plants and gifts; and they are a special part of our neighborhood,” said Valle, longtime Charlestown resident and Boston Portfolio Properties real estate firm owner.
“We are excited that Amanda plans to continue the tradition of being Charlestown’s florist, servicing our customers, along with our remarkable staff Christine, Tom, Eri, Bette, Lisa and Kim,” said Shadroui, mentioning how important it was to find a buyer to continue their tradition.
Shadroui had an interesting sojourn to Charlestown, growing up in Vermont and going to school on a pre-med path for psychology and zoology. Following college, he decided to travel across the country. When he got to San Francisco, he stayed for five years and became a pre-school teacher.
Eventually, he made his way to Boston on the recommendation of a friend, and also became a pre-school teacher for a while. However, having a creative bent, he decided to enroll in the Rittner School for floral design in the Back Bay. After graduating, he was working in Allston when he heard of a floral business for sale in Charlestown.
He and his first business partner, Jean Pohler, decided to dive in and bought the business in 1981 at a good price. It was located in Mishawum at the time, and they spent a three or four up, and down years there before moving to Thompson Square – where they stayed for 30 years.
They purchased their current building on Main Street in 2014.
The business also introduced him to his husband, Larry, who is also retiring. While at the Flower Market one day, he ran into him. Bowling had applied for a job at one time in Bunker Hill, but wasn’t hired. The two hit it off, and the rest is history.
“It’s definitely bittersweet, but what I’m doing is moving to Vermont and buying the home I grew up in,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to retire to where I grew up. I will be doing that now.”