For 50 years, Tom Sparks showered his wife Eugenia with red roses for anniversaries and birthdays, starting with a single rose when they first married in 1964 and then a dozen roses after their children were born.
Even after Tom Sparks passed away in May, he arranged for his wife to receive a dozen red roses to celebrate their upcoming 50th wedding anniversary January 2014.
And when they were talking about their last adventure, taking their Irish-centered business from festivals to a storefront, they decided that Irish Rose would be the perfect name for the shop.
“It is something they had talked about, and they decided on the name together for those reasons,” said Tom and Eugenia Sparks’ daughter-in-law Pat Sparks. “It’s very important and very symbolic to her and makes her feel like when she goes into that store he’s going to be right there with her.”
Eugenia opended her shop in November 2013, and is carrying on their adventure in a unique setting, as this will be the only Irish store between Wilmington and Fenwick, she said.
However, quite a few finishing touches are needed before the store can open to the public, including carpeting, carpentry work, electrical work, painting and phone lines. Those interested in learning more about the business can visit www.irishrosegiftshop.com to check out featured products that will be carried in the Milford store.
Previously, the business travelled to local festivals selling an array of hand-crafted Celtic items, including plaques, calligraphy pieces, glassware children’s clothes and other decorative items. Now with a central location, Eugenia has an opportunity to offer a new niche to the Milford community.
As a vendor with the Bug & Bud festival, Eugenia’s unique products caught the attention of Downtown Milford, Inc. President Irv Ambrose who encouraged her to settle down in downtown Milford. With an array of inventory, and the option of moderately-priced rent in a location that seems to be bringing in business, Eugenia Sparks said opening a store in Milford fit in perfectly with what she wanted in a store location.
“This location seemed perfect, especially because of the green awning, and it just worked out,” Eugenia said. “The new store is bitter sweet for me without my wonderful partner, but I am excited as well. Sometimes you just get the feeling that things are meant to be.”