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Your Money, Your Business: The Foliage Shoppe

By Victoria Advocate
June 3, 2010 at 1:03 a.m.
Updated June 5, 2010 at 1:05 a.m.

Stanley Schweke purchased The Foliage Shoppe in 1994. The shop on Sam Houston Drive offers floral services and a gift shop.

Editor's note: Your Money, Your Business showcases small businesses. If you have a small business or know of an interesting one, please let us know. See the end of this feature for submission information.

Business name:

The Foliage Shoppe Inc.

Address and phone number:

3304 Sam Houston Drive, 361-575-6119

Business owner:

Stanley Schweke

Date opened:

Purchased Feb. 4, 1994

Number of employees:

Seven

Services offered:

Full line florist and gift shop

1: Why did you choose the industry?

It chose me. A friend asked if I could work on Saturday for him at a local florist. From then on, I was hooked.

2: Describe your first day in business.

It was hectic. Valentine's Day was very close and there was a lot of preparatory work to do. I was excited at having finally achieved my goal of owning my own floral shop.

3: Describe a typical workday.

We clean up coolers and process new flowers and greenery. We also answer phones and prepare orders for the day, coordinate deliveries, visit with customers and squeeze in some book work.

4: Why open up shop in the Crossroads region?

I am a native Victorian. Victoria has always been my home.

5: Is it difficult to find employees in our workforce? How do you find workers?

Yes, it is difficult to find qualified people who have some experience and creativity. We find workers through word of mouth, friends and, sometimes, ads.

6: What advice would you give others starting a new business?

Realize that it is a real commitment to your time and your life. To be successful takes smarts and guts. Also, everything is always twice as hard as you thought it would be and usually costs twice as much.

7: What is the biggest challenge your industry faces?

To remain competitive and still find our place in the ever-changing landscape of the floral industry. Flowers are a luxury item.

8: What is something most people don't realize about running a small business?

It's harder than you think. You need to manage your time and your money well. Learn to make adjustments for the economy and your business situation.

9: In your time running your business, what is your best story?

Several years ago, I was finishing up a Christmas installation at a local hospital. I was locked in and finally finished at midnight. Just at that time a strong Texas norther came in with sheets of rain and a big temperature change. In my haste to get home, I jumped into my car - it was now foggy - and went down the road. I went straight through a stop sign and flew "Dukes of Hazzard" style into a muddy ditch. I got a tow truck to pull me out and he said everything looked OK. However, with all of the rain, we both just wanted to get home. I slept until noon the next day and, when I went out to check my car, the whole front underside was messed up. There was $3,500 worth of damage. Obviously, haste makes waste. The hospital looked wonderful with its Christmas decorations, but my car really suffered.

10: Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?

Hopefully alive and doing well. With the recession and economy, we've had to make adjustments to survive.

- Allison Miles, Victoria Advocate

To be considered for the Your Money, Your Business feature, call 361-580-6511 or e-mail Business Reporter Allison Miles at amiles@vicad.com. The form is also available electronically.

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