Life is in full bloom for Val Grasso. The Wyndham Vale resident has run Station Place Florist for the past 17 years and last year became a mum to daughter Liliana. As told to Charlene Macaulay.
What’s your connection to Wyndham?
I was born in Werribee, at the old hospital, but we used to live in Balliang. Our [wider] family has been in Werribee since the
’60s or ’70s with the egg farm.
What are some of your earliest memories of Wyndham?
Going to the milk bar, I think it was called Bunny’s, which used to be on Cottrell Street, the set of shops where the IGA is. There used to be a massive milk bar, and you used to go and get your lollies, ice cream, and there used to be a servo on the corner too, and if you didn’t go to the milk bar you went there.
And the fish and chip shop, that’s still there, but it’s not the same owners. It has to revert back to food, doesn’t it? Memories of food!
How much did it cost then to get some lollies or an ice cream?
It was like 50 cents a bag, 20 cents maybe.
Tell me about your family.
I’ve got my daughter, Liliana, she’s 15 months, and my husband.
How long have you been running the florist?
Seventeen years. [My sister] Nella and her husband decided to buy a florist shop and saw an opportunity here. I’ve worked here from day one, learning the ropes. I didn’t know much about floristry back then, but I’m still here!
What’s your favourite flower?
I love the sweet peas, orchids are always my favourite. I’m also seasonal – I like flowers when they’re in season.
What’s your favourite thing about this area?
I love the local people that come in. You develop a friendship and they’re loyal.
Where’s your favourite haunt for coffee or a meal?
We generally go to TJays.
If you could change one thing about this area, what would it be?
No Sunday trading, and bringing family life back. Time for family. Everyone’s too busy.
We had a chicken shop prior to this in the plaza and we never opened on Sundays, even when it was first brought it. And trading was only until 12pm on Saturdays, so everyone had to get [their shopping] done and that was it.