S.F. Falconer’s Florist has been a pillar in Port Washington for more than 100 years. Located in the same location on South Maryland Avenue, for over a century, the well-known Florist has serviced many of Port’s families, whether for wonderful occasions, as graduations, baptisms, weddings, holidays, as well as sad events of family members. The family dedication of giving personal attention, allowing needs of individuals to be taken care of, and contributing to so many of the town’s organizations has never wavered. Those who have known the Falconer’s know that they have a personal touch, like no other. Satisfaction is their goal; commitment, the key.
The founder of the firm, Simon Frederick Falconer was a native of Scotland who came to America in 1905. He was born in Auchen-blae, Kincardinshire, Scotland. His wife, Mary, was born in 1886 in Sterlingshire, Scotland. When they came to United States, they traveled throughout the country, and finally settled in Port Washington. They took residence in a small house on South Maryland, which today is part of the store erected on that site. He first found work in Jericho, and later at the Harry Guggenheim Estate in Sands Point as its head groundskeeper. He was a treasured worker for the Guggenheims, and once the decision to resign and go into business for himself, Mr. Guggenheim gave him his full support.
In the fall of 1920, the Falconers bought the house, and the corner property across, and built the first greenhouse, when they opened for business. That greenhouse was a gift of the Guggenheims, as a parting gift, who were also enthusiastic business supporters of Falconer’s. That greenhouse is still in use today as part of Falconer’s florist shop. In 1928, they built their second greenhouse on that lot at the corner of South Maryland Avenue and Maple Street.
In 1935, Mr. Falconer, as a productive and successful trades man, furthered his entrepreneurship as he built his third greenhouse next to his home, with a general office in the front. He was labeled by his contemporaries as a painstaking and industrious merchant. He was a ‘stern Scotsman’, who worked daily in a suit and tie.
Ernie Simon, long time writer for the Port Washington News said of Simon, “There was something very captivating in his manner that brought him many friends and made him known as one of the prominent citizens of the community. He was a strong booster for the betterment of the community and could always be depended upon to do his part in helping to create an outstanding community.” He was a member of the New York Florists Club, Manhasset Bay Sportsmen’s Club, Port Washington Masons Lodge, the Methodist Church and the Port Washington Lions Club.
After his death in 1960, the business was taken over by his son, Frederick, who carried on with his wife, Dorothy. As a notable florist, Fred, Sr., rose to levels of leadership within the floral industry. Fred, Jr. remembers traveling into New York City to prepare the International Flower Show at The New York Coliseum, which was a convention center that stood at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. He remembers his father as a ‘prominent, knowledgeable, caring, leader’ in the field he was most passionate about.
“People knew him,” Fred said. “He taught me well.” His Dad was a member of Flower Hill Hose Company in the Port Washington Fire Department, and followed the footsteps paved for him with many other activities in town.
Fred, Sr., retired in 1980, and Fred, Jr. took over the business. He is an interior plants cape designer, whose knowledge of varieties of plants and flowers is incredible. He is compassionate with customers and is keen on what is needed. His love of the Port Washington community is second to none. His generosity and community involvement all relates to his Grandfather’s dedication. Mariann Dalimonte, Councilwoman for the Town of North Hempstead, said of Fred, he gives from his heart, “no one pays him to do it, but he just does it.” Fred has been known to donate bows to cheer up the senior class last year during the pandemic, provide centerpieces for the Pride In Port Community Dinner, contribute numerous gifts for raffles for different organizations of the town, and balloons for various occasions. He is a 48 year member of Flower Hill Hose Co. #1 of PWFD, and presently serves as a Trustee. He is Treasurer of the Port Washington Benevolent Exempts Association and is Vice-Commander of the American Legion. He has served on a multitude of committees, and was recently named as the 2019 Community Chest of Port Washington’s Citizen of the Year. He has also been a member of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, the Port Washington Lions Club, Cancer Care, the Port Youth Association, The Pride In Port Committee and Port’s PAL program. His devotion to this town has been noted as “one of the most caring and generous contributors of Port Washington.”
Fred’s General Manager Sean Beckert, who has worked at the store for 42 years, had an incredible journey with the Falconer’s.
“Fred is a generous man,” Beckert said. “We have seen so many wonderful customers and generations support the business, throughout the years, and we feel we know so many personally. I have so many wonderful memories of Fred’s Dad, and mom, and I have always felt like a member of the family.”
On Saturday, June 5, the Town of North Hempstead officially re-named the first two blocks of South Maryland Avenue “S. F. Falconer’s Way.” The petition was started in January by the Port Washington Fire Department, which honors the business and family for the more than 100 years of honorable and prominent business to Port Washington. Several generations of The Falconer family have been proud members of the Port Washington Fire Department. Mr. Falconer indicated that he is humbled to be recognized.
“I am so appreciative to be honored by my brothers and sisters in the Fire Service, by the Town of North Hempstead, and especially by the community members of Port Washington. It has been such a rewarding and enjoyable career. I look forward to continuing to give back to the town that has given my family so much.”