This is Linda and John Kosakowski
Updated: Apr 8, 2019
by Jennifer Ersalesi
Long time Rutherford residents, Linda and John Kosakowski are celebrating a special milestone at their shop, Bill O’Sheas Florist and Gifts. Bill O’Sheas has been open for 50 years! TIR spoke with Linda about living in Rutherford, the time they have spent at Bill O’Sheas and its 50th Anniversary.
TIR: Rutherford has been your hometown for many years. When did you move here?
LK: We've lived in Rutherford since 1986. We had our first child in 1991 and that was when we really got to know more people from town. Through school, church, and sports we met so many people in the community.
Some of my best friends are people I met at the park when my children were young. 4 kids later and lots in between (we fostered for 10 years), we've made a lot of friends. We've always enjoyed the small community feel Rutherford has given us.
TIR: When is the 50th Anniversary of Bill O’Sheas?
LK: The anniversary date is some time in April, unfortunately, we are not sure of the actual date. Bill O’Shea owned the business for the first 40 years. He retired in 2009, so on April 1 John and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary as owners.
TIR: How long have you and John worked at Bill O’Sheas?
LK: I started here in September of 1979. Yikes, I’ve been there for 40 years! John started in 1981, so he’s been there for 38 years.
TIR: To what do you attribute the success of your florist shop?
LK: Bill O'Shea was a man with a plan. Thank God we were part of it. We have put in hard work and have been very dedicated to keeping his plan alive. We keep changing with the times, have an incredibly loyal customer base, and we feel very lucky.
TIR: Why do you think your customers love buying flowers and gifts from your shop?
LK: We know that people can get flowers just about anywhere nowadays, but we are also known for our excellent customer service. John and our staff get to know our customers and show a genuine interest in them. Our flowers last longer than most and we have a beautiful gift shop with affordable merchandise. We love what we do and it shows.
TIR: Rutherford resident and friend of the Kosakowskis, Beth Toole, explained, "Linda and John are people who always put their friends and family ahead of themselves. They are the first ones to give back to our schools, organizations, and their community."
How does Bill O’Shea’s Florist give back to the community at large?
LK: We consider our business a part of Bergen County, not just Hasbrouck Heights. We do a Good Neighbor Day every September where people donate food for the local food pantry and receive free roses. We do “BUY A RIBBON” campaign during the holidays where we make monetary donations to the Center for Food Action in Englewood. We offer Prom flower rebate checks to 6 different area high school project graduations during Prom season where students purchasing from us get 10% back towards their Project Graduation.
We support Rutherford's Relay For Life with carnations. We sponsor soccer and t-ball in Hasbrouck Heights and a Rutherford Babe Ruth baseball team. Go Bill O'Shea's! In the past, we also had a Women’s softball team in Rutherford. One of the biggest events we do is the Halloween painting on the Boulevard for the 3rd, 4th,,and 5th graders in Hasbrouck Heights. We coordinate with the area schools, the Hasbrouck Heights police department and parents to sponsor an event where over 400 kids paint on the merchant windows in town.
A few years ago John worked with the Bergen County Girl Scouts to help them earn a flower badge. The girls receive the badge after they come to Bill O'Sheas for a tour and talk with John about the industry At the end the field trip, they make their own arrangement to take home. He's hosted many troops!
John also works with Felician University's "Older is Better" group where he goes to the Lodi campus and makes arrangements with senior citizens. In January we accept vases to recycle and for every vase brought in we send a monetary donation to the Center for Food Action.
We support the Boy Scouts with balloon donations for their Blue and Gold dinner and carnations for the Fly Up ceremony for the Girl scouts.
TIR: Fifty years is a long time for a business to survive and thrive in any community, how do you plan on celebrating this amazing milestone?
LK: Well this special anniversary falls during a very busy time of year for us with the Easter holiday, Mother's Day, Proms, and Graduations, but we will find a way to celebrate as soon as we can! We hope to see many people during our Spring Open House on Sunday, 4/14 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.