SHELTON, Conn. -- Aristocratic boxwoods and fresh wreaths with sparkling embellishments signal the start of the holiday season at a landmark nursery in Shelton.
Langanke's Florist & Greenhouses at 1055 Bridgeport Ave. has been run by the same family for 60 years.
Mark Rempfer at the helm is manager, the third generation of Langankes to work there. His parents work and live on the property where his grandparents started the business in 1952.
In a few days, Rempfer and his staff will be elbow deep in festive table centerpieces and fall arrangements that may include light orange roses, orange spray roses and Matsumoto asters, among "beautiful colors."
Decorations are going up and already drivers-by will see a fireplace in a window and pair of life-size wooden soldiers in another. Still, a third has been accessorized with elves, along with holiday ornaments.
"Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving," Rempfer told Daily Voice.
He said the spring and summer, with vegetable plants and flowers, are also busy, but not the way it is now.
Every day the business makes arrangements for happy and sad occasions, from birthdays to anniversaries, funerals and gravesites.
"Our wreaths are special. From ordinary flowers to exotic, tropical flowers, like bird of paradise, each one is hand-decorated, individually. Our boxwood trees have lights and decorations and made fresh here, " he said.
Asked the key to his family's success, Rempfer said it's "good old-fashioned customer service and top-quality, top-grade flowers."
"It's all about serving the customer. We have a lot of regular customers that come for our rose specials in a vase. We have new customers who come in when they see us driving by. Other new customers come with the growth in the area and say it's a beautiful shop."
Shopping at Langanke's is done either on-site or via the website.
The business does not handle sales via third-party distribution sites, 1-800-Flowers, for example, or via phone apps to place orders.
In fact, Rempfer urges customers to do their homework before shopping for flowers.
"Be sure you contact an actual florist in the town you want to send flowers in and not a call center. They keep a large service charge, and turn around and call the florist directly. Customers should call the florist in the place where they want to send flowers. There's a lot of deceptive advertising on the internet."
For more information, call the nursery at 203-929-4688 or visit the website here.