Make us your home page
Local business

Florist shop is a family arrangement

Cheryl Pacheco, owner of Carlson-Wildwood Florist, has welcomed in her 25-year-old son, Matthew, as chief designer. The business plans a move of two blocks by Christmas.


Cheryl Pacheco, owner of Carlson-Wildwood Florist, has welcomed in her 25-year-old son, Matthew, as chief designer. The business plans a move of two blocks by Christmas.

LARGO — A customer walking into Carlson-Wildwood Florist would first notice the heady fragrance of fresh flowers and exotic plants.

Next they'd see the funky faux leopard carpeting throughout the shop.

Leopard spots are quickly forgotten, however, among all the other things to see, including handblown Polish glass vases, French-milled soaps, blooming orchids, handmade greeting cards and wire animals made with real moss.

But the business' main attraction is its head designer, 25-year-old Matthew Pacheco.

Cheryl Pacheco never dreamed her son would be joining the business when she bought it six years ago.

"He was working for a florist in Charlotte, N.C., and came back here to go to school and work part time for me," she said. "When he decided school wasn't working out, he joined me full time and now he's my star designer. He does really unusual designs and handles all the high-end arrangements."

Last fall, Pacheco and her husband, John, a marine engineer who works as a contractor for the Navy, bought property at 1488 Clearwater-Largo Road to expand their shop. They moved the business from Belleair and leased a temporary space near the new property in Largo. Now that all the permits and plans are in place, construction is about to begin.

"We hope to be in our new home by December," said Cheryl Pacheco.

In addition to flowers and gourmet and gift baskets, the new place will offer classes in flower arranging, including the Japanese ikebana style. Local ceramic artists will be invited to display work that can be used for floral arrangements.

Carlson florist has been a local institution for 60 years. In 1991, its owners at the time bought Wildwood florist and combined the names. The Pachecos purchased the business in 2002.

What do you enjoy most about the florist business?

"No two days are the same. I love that part. Every day is a new challenge," Cheryl Pacheco said.

"It's hard work, but it's a lot of fun and it makes people happy most of the time. Funerals are tough."

What are the disadvantages?

"The stress," she said. "There's a lot of stress. Like if you have a special order and the flowers come in bruised or the wrong color.

The first wedding I ever did was booked by the previous owners. They had ordered peach gerber daisies. What arrived were white gerber daisies and a can of paint.

On busy days, designers are on their feet 10 to 12 hours, lifting heavy buckets of water with flowers, cleaning the flowers, cleaning the vases, cleaning the buckets. You get pretty dirty. There's a lot of sweeping and hauling trash."

Where do your flowers come from?

"Most of them come from Colombia, Guatemala and Ecuador. Others come from all over the world: Holland, New Zealand, Australia, California, Israel," she said. "Most flowers don't have a season anymore. You can get tulips most any time, hydrangeas anytime. Carnations are getting to be very expensive and difficult to find. A lot of growers don't want to grow them because other flowers have a higher profit."

Daughter joins her dad's dental practice

Dr. Stacey Verkler has joined her father's 25-year dental practice at 1246 Florida Ave. in Palm Harbor.

Like her father, Dr. Dan Knellinger, she is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned her dental degree from the University of Louisville. She grew up in Palm Harbor and graduated from Palm Harbor University High School.

Knellinger is a Palm Harbor native and attended local schools, including Tarpon Springs High School. Both father and daughter are members of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and Florida West Coast Dental Association.

Nicholas Zembillas joins prestigious panel

Nicholas M. Zembillas, a senior vice president of the utilities division and a principal of the TBE Group based in Clearwater, has been appointed to the International Right-of-Way and Utilities Scan Delegation.

The delegation is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials and the Transportation Research Board. Zembillas is one of only two representatives from the private sector to be named to the delegation.

Zembillas is an internationally recognized expert in subsurface utility engineering, an engineering process that incorporates civil engineering, surface geophysics, surveying and mapping, non-destructive excavation and technologies to identify and classify subsurface utilities.

Under Zembillas' leadership, TBE's utilities division has been recognized as a subsurface utility engineering leader by the Federal Highway Administration and departments of transportation throughout the United States and Canada. He has lectured worldwide on the subject and authored articles for technical publications.

TBE is an award-winning, full service international civil engineering and consulting firm with more than 40 offices throughout the United States, Canada, the U.K,, China and Puerto Rico. The firm specializes in subsurface utility engineering, survey, right-of-way mapping and utility coordination services. Its corporate offices are at 380 Park Place Blvd., Clearwater.

Richard Fuller will lead the Civitan Club

Richard J. Fuller, who has owned a local accounting firm since 1982, has been elected president of the Clearwater Civitan Club. A 30-year Civitan member, he will be installed at an annual awards dinner in October at Countryside Country Club.

Fuller is the founder of the Tampa Bay CPA Group and a member of the Pinellas County Estate Planning Council. He previously worked for Esso International in charge of international accounting and for Arthur Young and Company in New York and Tampa. He has been an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the New York Stock Exchange. He has a master's degree from the University of Missouri.

News of businesses and business people can be faxed to the Business Digest at 445-4119, e-mailed to or mailed to Business Digest, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. We are interested in new and unusual businesses, promotions, expansions, commercial sales and major new contracts. Photos can be mailed or e-mailed by jpeg file.

>>If you go

Carlson-Wildwood Florist

Where: 1775 Clearwater-Largo Road.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

For more information: Call (727) 446-4610 or visit

Florist shop is a family arrangement 07/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 18, 2008 12:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]