CALLICOON, NY — Delaware Valley Farm & Garden Center (DVFG) recently changed hands. After decades of providing great products and service to the local community and loyal customers, Richard …
CALLICOON, NY — Delaware Valley Farm & Garden Center (DVFG) recently changed hands. After decades of providing great products and service to the local community and loyal customers, Richard “Rich” Wulff sold the Callicoon store to a couple of his most valued employees, Kyle and Kaelin Salvatora.
Kyle Salvatora, now 35, started working at DVFG, an Agway and a True Value hardware store, as a teenager while attending Honesdale High School, and after graduating in 2004, moved to Orlando, FL, to study motorcycle mechanics.
He returned to the area and worked for Rusty Palmer in Honesdale for a while, then in 2017 came back to the DVFG.
“I started working for Rich when I got my working papers,” he recalled, adding that as a teen, he worked mostly in the yard loading customers’ cars and trucks with everything from bags of woodstove pellets and rock salt to tons of feed.
As time passed, Salvatora was mentored by his well respected and marathon-running boss, learning how to manage the operation, essentially carrying on a tradition of hard work and a customer-centered work ethic.
“Rich was fast-paced, a hard worker, with a crew of hard-working people,” he said, noting, “We just came in and did our jobs. We might think about it a little bit, but you’re better off just doing it.”
Sort of like the old farming philosophy, “Just git ‘er done.”
Reflecting for a moment on his former boss, Salvatora said, “Rich would come in early and stay late. He used to say that there’s a lot you can achieve if you don’t set your standards too low.”
According to the new owners, what is now DVFG started out as a sawmill, became a feed mill, then turned into a small hardware store, until Wulff bought it in the late 1980s and over the following decades expanded the business into what it is today. That includes a revamped greenhouse and garden center.
Kaelin Salvatora, 32, graduated from the “Home of the Hornets” in 2007, studied elementary education at Kutztown University, and began working at DVFG as the bookkeeper in 2016.
They are the proud parents of three boys: two-year-old Timothy, five-year-old Abraham, who is in kindergarten, and second-grader Carson, age seven. The two older boys are students at Damascus School.
“We want to keep the same hometown, old-school hardware-store feel that it’s always had,” said Kyle Salvatora, when asked about the thoughts some folks might have harbored—that with a change in ownership, the store might switch its community-based focus.
Asked why they wanted to take over the business, Kaelin Salvatora replied, “I thought it was something we could do together; we have an excellent network of friends and family and we couldn’t let the opportunity pass… we put everything we have into what we’re doing.”
Kyle Salvatora said that after talking it over with Kaelin, they decided that taking over the business was the right move.
“We’re young enough, and we want to throw everything we have at it, take the chance to do real well for ourselves… the community has always been behind this place, and we really like it the way it is.”
Patricia Soblak, Kyle’s mom, is a fixture at DVFG, but her son declined to speculate if she was going to get a raise from the new owners, commenting, “We may own it, but we all just work well together,” adding that like a lot of business owners today, they are looking for a few new hires willing to put in a hard day’s work.
Kyle and Kaelin Salvatora will continue the tradition of offering a 10 percent discount on selected items to seniors, military personnel and active members of law enforcement.
The DVFG is open seven days a week. It is located at 30 Viaduct Rd., Callicoon, NY. For information, call 845/887-5100.
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