An accountant said this florist would never make it. Today at 100, “It’s a way of life.”


DARIEN – At 6:30 am, Mickey Doyle is in his shop thinking about today’s flower orders. He will leave around 7:30 p.m. in the evening.

For seven days of the week, rinse and repeat.

At 82, Doyle has some ideas on when he will retire.

“When I’m 102,” he said with a smile. Alternatively: “When I don’t wake up. “

Operating Springdale Florist and Greenhouses on the Stamford-Darien border has required this kind of endless commitment from Doyle over the past six decades.

In January, the store will celebrate its 100th anniversary. As one of the area’s oldest florists, Springdale has a comprehensive list of dedicated customers, some of whom have been shopping in Springdale for generations. It has remained afloat as a neighborhood business even as the florist industry entered an era of internet-driven sales and rising costs.

Forget the fancy stuff, says Doyle: At the heart of the store’s enduring success is hard work, attention to detail, and a deep love for people.

He does not lose sight of the mission either. Florists serve as emissaries, he said.

“You send someone a flower: ‘I love you’. You send someone another flower – “I’m sorry you had a loss,” Doyle said. “So we are messengers. Destroy the post, we’re in trouble.

“He has his headaches, like anything else,” he added. “But our hearts are there. I love people, I love what I do … it’s a way of life.

And that beats catering, he said.

The store itself has become a custodian of history. The store’s original sign, circa 1922, is mounted behind the counter. Photos of friends and former employees pile up the walls.

One of the walls is a dedicated “Heroes’ Corner”, with memorabilia from people who served in the military. Stamford local Brian Bill, a Navy Seal who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011, figures prominently. Bill began working in Springdale in 1995 as a high school student, forming a close friendship with Doyle.

Doyle said he still deeply felt the loss.

“Somehow when they start working here, they’re part of the family,” Doyle said. Former employees, many teenagers when they worked in Springdale, became Navy pilots, surgeons, lawyers.

“Amazing people have been there,” he said.

Doyle has been involved with Springdale for most of his life. He lived in Darien briefly as a child, then moved with his mother to his maternal grandparents’ house in Stamford.

His grandfather began working for the original store owner, Alex Cant Sr., as a commercial producer in 1932. Doyle joined him in 1956, later becoming a full-time employee, then in s ‘associating with Cant’s son before purchasing the store in 1973.

Doyle’s early years of ownership were marked by financial difficulties. At one point, an accountant told him the store would never make it.

“I didn’t have two cents to rub,” Doyle said. That changed when a banker showed up and after an hour of arguing, offered Doyle a loan of $ 50,000. From that point on, Doyle said, the store has managed to overcome its fair share of threats to its existence.

Along the way, Doyle has won a host of civic awards for his extensive involvement with local veterans groups. He has donated tens of thousands of roses to cancer patients in the area. There is a day in Stamford which bears his name, and he was grand marshal of the parades in Darien and Stamford.

It’s part of the commitment he made to the people around him, he said.

“That’s why I always push for small businesses,” Doyle said. “They give back to the community. When they are hit, it hurts me.

He remembers a time when 12 florists served Stamford. This number has fallen sharply. This is the internet and the way it works, he said. A Google search shows fewer than five florists still open in the area.

To stay on top, Springdale has branched out from taking orders for flower arrangements, servicing funerals and weddings, providing flowers to local country clubs, and maintaining plants at Stamford Hospital. There is also a propane station on the property, Doyle said.

The question arises as to who can guide Doyle’s Springdale into the next century.

His eldest son, Tom Doyle, is currently co-captain and is managing much of the operation. After Tom, the next successor will also have to be very committed, with moral convictions that match Doyle’s, he said.

Doyle is old school: honesty is the key. And you have to love people. It takes a certain work ethic to keep a store open for 100 years, Doyle said.

He bought two burial grounds across the street, in a nearby cemetery – one for himself, one for his wife – so he could oversee the business even when he left. His wife thinks the idea “is crazy,” according to Doyle.

But after six decades of constant vigilance, old habits die hard.

“If somebody gets this place and they’re not nice, they’re in trouble,” Doyle said. Let this serve as a warning to you: “The doors will shake. And the windows will break.

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