Shepparton icons sell Renato florist after 40 years of booming business


It was Sam and Josie Renato last week as owners of their iconic florist on Wyndham St in Shepparton before their niece Leeanne Archer picked up the keys, rods and scissors on Monday, after buying the business with her husband Glenn.

As ‘Sam the Flower Man’ puts it, the florist’s core business is emotion, and for over 40 years the duo behind Shepparton have added beauty to the most important stages of life – the moments of deep joy and deep sadness.

Letting Renato’s florist go wouldn’t be easy, Sam said, although he and Josie both agreed it was a good time.

“I’m going to be pulled out of here screaming and screaming, I’m telling you,” he said half-jokingly.

The shop opened as a nursery in 1981 and quickly transformed into a florist as Josie’s bouquets flew off the counter.

For the first 22 years in business, Sam and Josie worked steadily seven days a week, until Sunday business slowed with the arrival of Bunnings and extended supermarket hours.

Renato’s gave 11 apprentices a start in the industry over the years, now employing six florists – many of whom have been with the business for over 20 years.

Even still, Sam and Josie have been on deck almost every weekday for the past two decades.

Now, tired and satisfied, it’s time to enjoy life outside of work.

“We’ve only had one good vacation in 40 years, so we have to catch up on a few vacations,” Sam said.

There is also a list of projects to take on at home and precious time to live with six grandchildren.

More than anything, Sam and Josie will miss their customers.

“If we don’t have customers, we don’t have a business, so we have to thank our customers a lot,” Josie said, adding that she and Sam were sorely lacking in face-to-face service during repeated blockages. of COVID-19.

Refusing customers at the door was against their very nature.

“’No’ is not in my vocabulary, I never say ‘no’,” Sam said.

“If anyone asks me something, I’ll go out and do my best to try and do it.”

Renato’s Florist’s reputation for regular and generous participation in community fundraising is a testament to this.

In 2017, Carmel Johnson, then director of the GV Health Foundation, estimated that the beloved company had donated at least $ 70,000 in flowers to the hospital over more than 30 years.

Thinking about it, Josie wondered how they found the time for all of this.

“But we did – we integrated it all,” she said. “These are the kinds of things you need to do for your community – you give and you take, that’s the way it is. You have to do it.”

This challenge and responsibility is one that Leeanne and Glenn are thrilled and honored to take on.

They’ll have expert mentors in Sam and Josie, who share 80 years of experience with each other, and the shop isn’t entirely new to Leeanne.

“She’s been here from the start, really, she came on Saturday mornings and helped us out, and even until now, she helps us during peak times if we need her,” Josie said.

“She’s like a girl to us,” Sam said.

Leeanne and Glenn were born and raised in Shepparton, where they raise their daughters Olivia and Emily.

“We look forward to continuing to spread the love of sending flowers to the community of Shepparton and beyond,” said Leeanne.

Glenn said they felt lucky to know that Sam and Josie were just a phone call away for help and advice.

The new owners will be giving the store a facelift with a new coat of paint and new gifts before Christmas time.

“Other than that, business will be business as usual,” Leeanne said.

“We won’t change much more until we get in and get a feel for what might be needed. “

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