Story at a glance
- Father’s Day is celebrated nationally on June 20 this year.
- Father-and-son duo George and Will Dukas are breaking down gender stigmas in the flower industry and pursuing their dreams to deliver nationwide.
- Based near Washington, D.C., the Dukas also donate fresh arrangements to deserving local businesses on a monthly basis.
When George Dukas’s grandfather found himself selling flowers on a New York City street corner in 1910, he could have never imagined that more than a century later his family would be continuing on that legacy.
At the turn of the 20th century, Dukas’s family had made their way over from a small village in Greece to the Big Apple in search of the American dream. It wasn’t until 1956 that the family relocated to Northern Virginia, and in 1980 Dukas decided to take over the family business himself, not only selling blooms to nearby Washington, D.C., but expanding the company’s vision beyond being a traditional mom and pop.
Now, Dukas is working with his son Will on an ambitious goal to make Send Smiles the largest flower delivery company in the nation. The father-and-son team say that they are breaking down barriers and stigmas with their business in a multitude of ways, showing that working at the business doesn’t mean settling as long as the team is willing to learn from each other in the process.
“I’d say my number one tip for working with family members is to not take anything personally,” George says, adding that an ability to separate business and family members is key in the success of his relationship with Will.
The business owner also says that through working with his son he has had the unique opportunity to watch Will develop over the years into a smart and savvy entrepreneur. He understands that most dads do not have the chance to collaborate with their child on this level and says it isn’t something he takes for granted. For Will, working with his father has allowed him to soak up the expertise and knowledge his father has gained from working in the floral industry for more than three decades.
The Dukas have also been able to bond over the philanthropic sides of the business as well, including their most recent charitable pursuit called The Send Smiles Project. On their website, community members are able to submit deserving local businesses and “community pillars” for the chance to be sent free flower arrangements to brighten their spaces.
Next up, the duo plans to bring their fresh flower services to cities nationwide in a way they say has never been done before — no boxed-up shipping, just working with local farmers for direct local delivery.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA