The Work We Do: Peter Clarke, Clarke’s Garden & Home

I’m Peter Clarke and I’m one of the owners here at Clarke’s Garden & Home right here in Greenport. We’re excited to be starting our 10th year in business.

My partner, Anthony Gigante, and I started this business in 2010 and we started it as a garden business, mostly with nursery stock and tools. Slowly but surely we expanded the categories that we offer and now we have decorative items, personal care items, gourmet items and a full service floral department.

I grew up with a love of gardening and my mom was originally born and raised on a farm, so it was part of our lives: growing things, nurturing things, learning about it. I tried to couple that love with my knowledge in running stores and retail in general.

I’ve been in retailing my whole career. I came to New York in the 1980s to join the Macy’s team in the buying office. From there, I went on to different turns with specialty food, cosmetics and gift industries.

I’ve always wanted to be in business for myself and have my own store. I discovered Greenport and always wanted to spend more time here. I fell in love with the community and as a result ended up opening my business here.

We’re a service business first and foremost. 

We have responsibilities to to water, nurture and maintain the atmosphere inside and out every day, but in addition to that, the phone rings, the computer dings, people walk in and every day is different. We could be off-site doing a special event and setting up for a dinner party or a wedding or a special event of that nature, or we could be doing 50 hanging baskets for an installation, or we could be custom-doing pots for one of our local businesses, putting container mixes together for people.

What I especially love about it is being able to help people express themselves.

Because they choose flowers for the most important occasions, the most heartfelt occasions. So we really go the distance to understand the person. Where they’re coming from, what they’re trying to say and customize the item, the gift, the arrangement to their needs so that they feel really good and the person who receives it feels the same sentiment.

That’s been the most rewarding part — being a fabric of their lives.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes.