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Kati Mac is a small business in a town full of them, and “we know the importance of supporting each other,” Ashlee said. “In addition to our EBS Children’s Therapy partnership, we’ve teamed up with Dia Doce cupcakes on special occasions, such as this past Valentine’s Day.” There’s a catch to being surrounded by other great borough businesses, though. “We’re all very close in the shop, but if there’s one thing we might argue over, it’s where to eat lunch! There are so many choices, and we all have our favorites!”

i Flowers by

photos COURTNEY POTTS

the Greenery When Judy Shaw bought Flowers by the Greenery in October of 2006, she wasn’t just taking over a small business; she was shifting gears entirely. “I had a career in corporate accounting,” she told us. “I have an accounting degree and an MBA in management information systems.” She acknowledges that it’s a “bit of a bananas story.” In a nutshell, when she got laid off from her corporate gig, she did some consulting work, but something was missing. She remembers telling her then-boyfriend/now-husband, Kevin, that she wanted a brick-and-mortar business. “My mom had a candle business when I was growing up, and I wanted something like that, a store. So I found a business broker and started crossing things like delis and food-related businesses off the list, because I knew that required more training than I had. Then Kevin said ‘How hard can a flower shop be?’” Well, Kevin, she learned just how hard in a hurry. “I lost 35 pounds in the first few months,” Judy told us. “My first 90 days as owner included Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, and on that first Valentine’s Day there was a blizzard. And as many times as I’ve told this story, it’s funnier every time. It’s like ‘what the hell were you thinking??’” A purely pragmatic decision had given way to a jarring reality. “I’d really never done retail before, and it’s an entirely different animal from corporate. Literally anything can walk through the door.” She’s learned that you can’t prop up the business on one particular aspect, like

FLOWERS BY THE GREENERY IS ESSENTIALLY A ONE-WOMAN OPERATION.

A weddings. “That almost has to be a small percentage of your revenue,” she said. “It’s the everyday stuff, and it’s the relationships you have with your customers that make the business work. You start out with one loyal customer, and ultimately you can get their family and friends as well.” And sometimes her own friends get pulled in. “My dear friend Michael ended up making a delivery for me during that Valentine’s Day blizzard. He got a $20 tip from a woman who said ‘Thank you for risking your life for my flowers.’ I’m stunned that there isn’t a sitcom about a flower shop. A writer could just sit here for a week and have plenty of material—particularly

during a full or new moon.” At the suggestion that there are probably a preponderance of “I’m sorry” bouquets bought or sent during those moon phases, Judy immediately agreed, adding “Yes—some of which are declined.” [Reporter’s note: this has never occurred to me, although I have given flowers to someone else.] “I had one driver—I believe on his first delivery ever—who negotiated with a woman who declined the flowers. ‘Why don’t you just take the flowers and I’ll keep the card, so you don’t have to deal with whoever sent them?’ Others have said ‘I don’t want these, but I’ll give them to my mom.’” Flowers by the Greenery is essentially a one-woman operation, running the shop and employing three part-time drivers. So this how-hard-can-it-be? business has taken over her life. “Sometimes people ask me for recommendations for places in West Chester, and I have to be honest with them. I really don’t get out much!”

MARCH 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Green Thumb Issue - March 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Green Thumb Issue - March 2019  

Voice of the Borough