Brattle Square Florist will remain open under the ownership of longtime store manager Stephen Zedros, a member of the Gomatos family who founded the store, its current owner announced days before the store’s scheduled closing on January 31.
The store, which has operated in Harvard Square for 105 years, will continue to operate at its current location until March before moving to 52 Brattle St. Current owner Randy Ricker announced in December that he plans to retire and to close the store, citing staff shortages, rising costs and the ongoing pandemic.
But he anticipates that the store will recover under Zedros ownership.
“I think he’s going to overcome those challenges – where, from my perspective, it was just daunting,” he said.
Zedros shared similar optimism about the future of the store now that Harvard has returned to in-person operations.
“Traffic is starting to come back a bit,” he said. “With the kids back at Harvard and with the faculty back, it’s stronger – much stronger – than it was.”
As Covid-19 continues to impact storefront operations, Zedros said Brattle Square Florist’s delivery service represents a substantial portion of store operations, citing this month as “the busiest January ever.” of all times for deliveries”.
Zedros said news of the store’s planned closure sparked a substantial reaction from his customers.
“I have enough letters and cards, I could paper a room,” he said.
Denise A. Jillson, director of the Harvard Square Business Association, attested to the “overwhelming” response following the announced closure.
“I’ve even received emails from people who just wanted to share their story of how Brattle Square Florist made the flower arrangements for their wedding 40 years ago,” she said.
Christel Antonellis, a part-time employee at Brattle Square Florist, said Zedros’ personality and friendly demeanor have helped the store retain a loyal customer base.
“You meet him once and he’s like, ‘Oh, good to see you again. How are you?'” she said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why people were so sad to see him go.”
Zedros cited his family heritage as a motivation to take over the store. Brattle Square Florist traces its origins to 1917, when brothers George, Stavros and John Gomatos opened a shop called Gomatos Brothers Fresh Produce. The company became Brattle Square Florist in 1973.
“I wanted to know if there was a way to keep the name alive,” he said.
He thanked Asana Partners, the store’s current owner, for enabling a smooth transfer of ownership by extending his lease until March.
“They were incredibly fair and they did everything we needed to make the transition,” Zedros said.
When Ricker first announced the store’s closure, Jillson said she was hoping for a “miracle” to save him.
“We were surely hoping for news like this, so it’s really delicious,” she said.
—Writer Sage Lattman can be reached at [email protected]