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Welcome Wagon Intl. leaves LI for Florida

Welcome Wagon International, a homeowner marketing company with Long Island roots that go back to the 1960s, has moved to Florida.

The new location for the company is in Coral Springs, near Fort Lauderdale.

The New York State Labor Department in December had issued a plant closing notice for the company, saying the shutdown would eliminate 25 jobs.

Welcome Wagon was founded in the 1920s in Tennessee by Thomas Briggs, who hired community "hostesses" and sent them to new homeowners with gift-baskets of discounted goods and services from nearby businesses.

In 1962 a Long Island rival, Irv Siegel, founded Getting to Know You, which eventually dominated the market. Westbury-based Getting to Know You bought Welcome Wagon in 1998 and took the name.

A private investor bought the company in June for $2 million from The new owner, Craig Swill of Boca Raton, is also owner of the community newspaper publisher South Florida Media Group.

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