George Stelios has co-owned Teddy’s Florist at 21-75 35th St. with his sister, Clare Petropoulos, for more than 30 years. They are both lifelong Astoria residents.
The siblings inherited the flower shop from the original owner’s family and kept the name because of the reputation it had in the community as a great florist. The shop sells roses, hybrid lilies, gerbera daisies, snapdragons and hydrangeas, to name a few. They will also bring in a type that a customer requests.
“We have the freshest flowers around,” Stelio said. “They last two to three weeks, sometimes a month.”
The shop also creates bouquets for weddings.
Stelios said what has kept them in business is that he and his sister treat customers like family.
“We make everybody feel as comfortable as possible, that’s our number one thing,” he said.
What keeps you in Astoria besides the business?
To me it’s like a big neighborhood, meaning everybody knows and says ‘hi’ to each other, even the new people moving in. It’s a tight community and it’s a great neighborhood to settle down or to live in if you work in the city. I wouldn’t trade Astoria for the world. You could tell me to move anywhere in the five boroughs and I wouldn’t.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your time here?
A lot of young people are coming in, a lot more diverse people are moving in and a lot of restaurants are opening up. But the prices have also gone up big time.
What are some of your favorite memories of growing up in Astoria?
I used to go to Mike’s Diner with my father early in the morning before he went to work. It’s still one of my favorite places. I remember going to Astoria Park and playing sports. There would be 30 or 40 of us with our Trans Ams or Corvettes and we’d hang there and go to the Astoria pool in the summer.