Marlene Comella of Berwyn’s Violet Flower Shop named 2013 Piper Award winner!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Berwyn Development Corporation (BDC) will host the 29th Annual Charles E. Piper Award Dinner honoring Marlene Comella on Saturday, November 2, 2013. The event – Shaken, not Stirred – will feature a James Bond theme with casino games, a grand prize drawing and a silent auction fundraiser. Classic 1950s and 1960s cocktail attire is highly encouraged as a photographer will be on site to capture the festivities. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed male and female. The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. at Skylite West Banquets located at 7117 W Ogden Avenue in Berwyn, Illinois.

The BDC is proud to present Marlene Comella with this respected community award to honor her achievements and contributions towards the growth and development of Berwyn’s business community. Each year, the BDC membership selects an individual who best exemplifies the spirit of one of Berwyn’s original developers, Charles E. Piper.

Having resided in Berwyn for sixty-two years, Marlene Comella has established deep roots within the community. She began her grammar school education at Berwyn’s St. Mary of Celle and continued on to graduate from Immaculate Heart of Mary High School. She graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Marlene also pursued advanced training at the American Floral Art School.

In 1978, Marlene and her husband Alan bought Berwyn’s Violet Flower Shop, which was established in Berwyn in 1942. The family owned and operated flower shop is renowned for its friendly service and personal attention with any special occasion from weddings, graduations, showers and holidays to funerals. Her facility consists of a flower shop, two greenhouses and a garden center, positioning the business to make a unique and lasting impact on the community. The business has been recognized by Checkbook Chicago for overall quality, customer service, reliability and knowledge. The double checkmark the business received is the highest rating given.

Marlene Comella has donated her time and talents to a number of initiatives in Berwyn, including the following:

  • Flowers for Hope: Marlene discovered that five of her friends were battling breast cancer and this deeply troubled her. While at a floral trade show, she was admiring the beautiful pink flowers and plants and “Flowers for Hope” was born. She founded this annual fundraiser for breast cancer research, prevention and ultimately the cure. The flower shop hosts the event and last year raised over $10,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, October 12.
  • KaBOOM!: Marlene led the design and maintenance plan for the farmer’s learning garden project at the North Berwyn Park District’s Brocato Park, a KaBOOM! Project in conjunction with Disney. She was involved in planning, led a team of volunteers and participated in the building of the vegetable gardens.
  • Think Green: Marlene led a group of Girl Scouts and other volunteers in the preparation of the garden area at the North Berwyn Park District’s Berwyn Gardens at the annual Earth Day event.
  • Project Grow: Marlene is dedicated to teaching children about gardening. In Spring 2012, she began teaching children ages 6-12 years on a volunteer basis through classes at the North Berwyn Park District. Classes teach participants how to prepare the garden area in the spring and winter, how to maintain and harvest and how to eat healthy. She uses the gardens she helped plant at Brocato Park as her outdoor classroom.
  • Field Trips: Marlene graciously welcomes groups of children to visit the shop so that she can teach them about planting and gardening.
  • City of Homes: Marlene has volunteered her time to the City of Homes organization to teach a workshop on landscape design with plants and flowers and the benefits of indoor plantings.
  • 6th Ward Plantings: Marlene has planted all of the flowers in the City’s 6th Ward on her own time.

Marlene credits her family as her inspiration. She shared, “The love and support I received early in life from my parents helped shape my values of caring deeply, working hard and being a strong, confident woman. Long hours and a seven-day work week could not have been achieved without the love and support of my family – both my home and my flower shop family – because we are intertwined as one. I truly love being part of this community and giving back is important to me. Berwyn and its people are always in my heart, and I am honored to receive this recognition.”

“Marlene Comella’s efforts to beautify the city and to educate residents of all ages will have lasting benefits for Berwyn. Her creativity and passion for her business and for the betterment of Berwyn is obvious when you come to understand her pay-it-forward approach to our community. I congratulate Marlene for all of her efforts and for receiving this well-deserved award,” said Jon Fey, President of the BDC Board of Directors.

To purchase tickets, make a donation to the silent auction, or obtain additional information on the 29th Annual Charles E. Piper Award Dinner and fundraiser, contact the Berwyn Development Corporation at (708) 788-8100,, or visit our event web page.

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