Author: Joseph Ulrich, BSU student
Looking around the center of every city and town there are a few businesses that everyone would expect to find. Banks, bakeries, coffee shops, laundromats, and convenient stores among others. But one business that often gets left off the list is flower shops. In most cities or towns, there are multiple flower shops competing for the same customers, with unpredictable demand other than the expected increase around holidays. This makes for intense rivalry among those competing businesses. In Stoughton there are several floral service businesses including Floral Fantasy.
Donna Ayers is the owner of a floral service called Floral Fantasy located conveniently on Central Street in Stoughton. This local flower shop has been running since 1997, but it was not until 2018 that Ms. Ayers bought the business from its previous owner upon her retirement. When asked about why she wanted to enter the floral industry Ms. Ayers replied “It was a mutual interest that I shared with my grandmother from the time that I was a very small child until the previous owner offered me a chance to run the shop myself”.
Now, Ms. Ayers puts arrangements together daily, ranging from holiday themed centerpieces to simple but elegant bouquets as well as delivering arrangements for weddings, funerals, and other events. When asked about what sets her business apart, Ms. Ayers replied “Pride in our work. In my shop, I like to make the customer happy and excited about doing business with us. We love flowers and we like people to love what we send”.
Owning a business presents many challenges. One challenge is keeping up with new technology, whether it be hardware or software that improves the efficiency of daily operations, or even the marketing aspect of social media platforms. “We’re lucky with the online services that allow us to announce who we are and what services we offer”, says Ms. Ayers. Despite technology struggles, Floral Fantasy has worked to improve its social media presence by posting pictures of some of their gorgeous arrangements on Instagram and on their website.
Every business can only go as far as its staff. Luckily, Ms. Ayers has excellent staff who she feels she can rely on saying “My business is moving in a direction where we are developing a staff. They are becoming very independent, which is nice. Ms. Ayers brings to light here an issue that many small business owners face, being over worked in order to keep the business operating smoothly. “Can my staff do it? Sometimes, and in small doses the answer is yes” going on to explain that her staff will be running the shop for a day within the coming week. All that being said, Ms. Ayers feels she needs to be hands on because of sudden demand. At any given moment a big order for a wake or a wedding could be placed, so she wants to be in the loop at all times.
Floral Fantasy like many businesses faces the challenge of looking for ways to improve and grow. Ms. Ayers and her staff “are currently developing a series of workshops at different venues” she explains, “that I think will grow the business a lot. That’s an avenue that we are exploring that’s possible and it’s within my expertise.” “I also think that we can grow the business with events. In the plaza where we are, we have three businesses that have related and harmonious goals that we are working to network. So, I think networking for us is beneficial.”
Facing challenges is a part of every small business owner’s daily routine. Despite these challenges businesses like Floral Fantasy and owners like Ms. Ayers continue to provide excellent service and product for their customers. At Floral Fantasy, Ms. Ayers and her staff are always striving to exceed their customer’s expectations, and to keep them coming back for more.