Flower shop was originally owned by vets
Barb Dombroski, co-owner of Veteran's Floral & Monuments in Norridge, waters the flowers in Veteran's greenhouse. | Tina Harle~for Sun-Times Media
What is your favorite flower?
Name: Veterans Floral and Garden Shop
Location: 7800 Irving Park Road, Norridge
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Specialty: Floral arrangements and garden supplies.
Contact: (708) 452-7800, www.veteransfloral.com
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:54PM
Puttering among the potted plants, Barbara Dombroski moves from row to row, watering hose in hand.
She and husband, Raymond, have owned Veterans Floral and Garden Shop for about 30 years, 15 at its current location.
“The original owners were veterans,” she said, explaining how the shop got its name.
That floral center was at Harlem Avenue and Irving Park Road.
“There used to be a big veterans monument on that corner,” she said.
It was at that corner that Raymond Dombroski first started working, at age 16, for the original owners.
“I enjoy what I’m doing,” he said. “Every day is different.
“It’s not a factory, “ he added. “I don’t stare at the same four walls. I enjoy working with the customers, that’s the main thing,”
“People coming into this shop remember him as a boy at the old place,” she said. “You really get to know your customers. We’re neighbors. This is a great business.”
Spring just may be the best time of year, they said.
“That’s when our regulars come in for their garden plants,” she explained.
Lining rows of tables are vegetable plants and flowering plants such as geraniums and petunias.
Plants in hanging baskets drape down toward garden statues.
Catering to the needs of the neighborhood comes easy for the Dombroskis.
“I grew up on Oconto (Avenue),” Barbara Dombroski said. “I used to roller skate by that veterans monument. We’ve raised our children in Norridge.”
The Dombroskis’ believe their connection to the neighborhood gives them an advantage.
“The business is always changing,” shei said. “You have to be able to accommodate what your customers want.”
The hours each spends in the shop may vary, but the commitment to customer service does not.
“We don’t open until 9 a.m.,” he said. “But I may come into the shop earlier. If someone come by before we open, I’ll let them in.”
While floral arrangements and gardening needs are the shop’s bread and butter, the shop also fulfills another, inevitable need.
Positioned near Westlawn, Acacia Park and Irving Park cemeteries, Veterans Floral and Garden Shop provides cemetery decorations and markers.
“It’s a delicate thing,” Barbara Dombroski said, “but it’s not much trouble for us.”
The Dombroskis acknowledged running a small, family-owned business is tough.
“But if you treat customers like family, like the friends they are, it all works out,” she said.