An alum business ‘flourishes’ in St. Clair Shores.
A metro Detroit institution in the flower business, Mancuso’s Florist, currently is thriving in St. Clair Shores after more than 90 years in business. In fact, the shop on Harper Ave. between 9 and 10 Mile Roads, recently was awarded the Detroit Heritage Recognition award for being a successful part of the Southeast Michigan retail business community for more than 85 years.
But the roots for the business are located a little farther south of St. Clair Shores.
“Mancuso's was started in 1923 in Detroit on Harper and Whittier, across from St. Matthew Catholic Church,” said owner Frank Mancuso Jr., a 1974 alumnus of Notre Dame. “We moved to St. Clair Shores in 2007.”
Mancuso's Detroit location was opened by Frank Mancuso Sr. Upon the passing of Mancuso Sr. in 1980, Frank Jr. and his sister, Bette Hang, took over the family business and in 1999, Frank Mancuso III joined his dad as co-owner.
Mancuso Jr. said bringing his son into the business really helped the company, especially in terms of technology.
“Frank III brought us into the computer era,” he said. “He developed our website, www.mancusos.com, our point-of-sale order input, and even a floral app for mobile devices. He also developed many successful marketing programs, including our very popular Petal Rewards Program, customer reminder postcards, and preferred customer cards.”
Bringing next generations into the family business has been a longtime tradition in the Mancuso family.
“I’ve been involved with Mancuso's Florist since I was 8 or 9 years old,” Mancuso said. “I would go into the shop with my dad and just kind of follow him around. We would eat a packed lunch at his desk and I would do some odd jobs around the building.”
He said during his teen years he would come in after school at Notre Dame and take the trash out, pull weeds, wash the windows along with other odd jobs. “Then, when I was old enough to drive, I would deliver flowers all afternoon then come back and work in the shop.”
Mancuso, who studied business administration at Wayne State University, recalls that his Notre Dame years taught him much more than just academics.
“The things I remember most were how the faculty led by example,” he said. “They were always respectful to students and expected the same from you. Very rarely did a teacher raise his or her voice and inappropriate language was unheard of. They taught you character and integrity and you always tried to live up to their expectations.”
At NDHS, Mancuso also was involved in the drama club and played parts in several musicals, including Flower Drum Song (naturally!) and Sweet Charity. He said many teachers and alumni have stopped in the shop throughout the years and it’s always fun reminiscing about their collective high school days.
“Whenever I hear a name from a customer who I remember from high school, I'll make an inquiry about their ND connections, and oftentimes they will tell me that it was their dad or uncle who went there,” he said. “Which makes me feel my age because they are often married with their own children!”
A proud father and grandfather himself, Mancuso mentioned that he and his wife, Donna, have four children, Frank III, Paul, Angela and Andrea, plus three grandchildren, Dominic (11), Ava (7) and Joey who was born in February of this year.
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." The Marist Fathers and Brothers sponsor NDPMA's Catholic identity and manages its educational program. Notre Dame is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools, the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.