When florist Mark Buzzetto took a phone call from his old boss, Frank Yozzo, asking if he would be interested in buying the Mount Kisco flower shop where Buzzetto had worked as a delivery boy 30 years earlier, the proposal seemed inherently right. “He said to me, ‘I’m retiring and you’re the only person I’m going to sell to — make me a deal,’” Buzzetto tells WAG in a recent interview at Four Seasons Flower Shop. The deal was duly made.
Back in the late 1970s, while still at high school, Buzzetto had been introduced to Yozzo, who was his best friend’s uncle, and gone to work for him in the afternoons, delivering flowers. “He was a great boss, a father figure, and a genuinely nice guy to work with,” reflects Buzzetto. “During those years, I was able to learn most of the skills that, unbeknownst to me, would be the foundation for my future.”
He developed, he says, a true passion for the flower business and, under Yozzo’s supervision and training, discovered a natural ability to design arrangements. But as he continued to learn and perfect his craft, he inevitably wanted to forge his own path. With 10 years of experience under his belt and encouraged by Yozzo, he took “a leap of faith” — opening the Brewster Flower Garden in 1988, owning and running it for the next 30 years.
Now he has come full circle, looking happy and relaxed among the orchids and the lilies on East Main Street in Mount Kisco. Clearly the flower business suits him. “Yes, it’s a great business to be in,” he concurs. “I just don’t get to have holidays like everybody else.”
His son, Mark Jr, has worked with him for the last seven years — first in Brewster, now in Mount Kisco. “I’m teaching him the whole business so eventually — whenever I retire — I’ll help him out a couple of days a week. He knows what he’s doing.”
Together, they are also upgrading the business, which previously had no website, not even an email address. “(Frank) did no advertising. No one even knew about him unless they were local.” Now, new customers are coming to Four Seasons simply by Googling the business and loving the reviews. Also, people from New York City will send flowers to people in central and northern Westchester County, because they know there’s a florist they can trust. Having faith in the florist is a big part of the business. Buzzetto notes how people who send flowers will often mention that they are going to be seeing the arrangement themselves in the recipient’s house, implying it had better be nice. His response is to say, “You can’t intimidate me. It’s going to be pretty no matter what.”
He adds that it is not just about price. He cares about what he does and it shows. “I don’t count every little thing like some other shops might. If (an arrangement) needs another couple of roses, or stock or Gerber daisies to look right, we do it. I sleep good at night.”
Trends — styles of arrangements — as well as taste in flowers themselves change over time, says Buzzetto. So, what are people in Mount Kisco enjoying right now? “Hydrangeas are always nice. Personally, my newest favorite flower is (the multilayered, bell-shaped perennial) lisianthus — it comes in different shades. Snapdragons, stock, dendrobium orchids are really big, and they last a couple of weeks. And always roses.”
There is a certain snobbism, too. “People will say, ‘no carnations, please’ or ‘no chrysanthemums.’ Carnations get a bad rap, which is a pity, since they are a beautiful flower and they come in beautiful, rich shades. And the scent is gorgeous.” Color and variety, too, can be something of a minefield. “A lot of people do like the same hues together,” Buzzetto says diplomatically. “Whites and greens, for instance.” For greens, he currently favors seeded eucalyptus as well as dusty miller.
As for styles of arrangement, the tied bouquet is still “pretty popular,” although shapes tend to be tighter and fuller than the typical dozen long-stemmed roses of yore.
Four Seasons also does event flowers, “weddings, bar mitzvahs, (all manner of) parties. “And funerals, too — too many unfortunately,” says Buzzetto, pointing to an extravagant purple and white arrangement ready for delivery.
Part of Buzzetto’s success in the business stems — forgive the pun — from understanding that his customers always want quality. So, orchids come from Hawaii, Gerber daisies from Canada. And he raves about his roses from Ecuador. “They’re the very best you can get. They hold up two weeks and their heads don’t drop.”
Also, after 30 years in the business, he has great relationships with his distributors. “Like today, somebody wanted peonies for tomorrow. Well it’s too early in the season. But one of my distributors, he said, by hook or crook, I’ll find them for you. And you know what? He did.”
Four Seasons Flower Shop is at 322 E. Main St., Mount Kisco, or visit fourseasonsflowershop.net.