August 04, 2021
Revitalizing a Century-Old Flower Shop: Molly Barrett
Meet Molly Barrett: An Indiana native who recently took over a 100-year-old business in her hometown of Terra Haute, IN. “I don’t have any background in floristry,” Molly laughed. She’s a businesswoman by profession with over 20 years of experience in retail and banking management. The opportunity to run a flower shop fell into her lap through a friend’s recommendation. “There were flower experts ready to help. They’d need me to streamline the office, expand marketing efforts, and get the business in order.” After looking at the numbers with her husband, the Barretts bought the historic poplar flower shop.
They soon rebranded to Maggie & Moe’s Poplar Flowers & Decor after their daughters Maggie & Maureen, who work at the shop. Molly said, “I thought I’d be home working in the same ZIP code as my family — which even though that has not turned out to be true — is great because my daughters enjoy working with flowers.” Her husband, a high school football coach and teacher, also lends a hand during the summertime and most recently with online learning. It takes a village to deliver flowers!
One thing Molly has changed about the shop was in increasing its focus on plants. House plants have been a growing trend among younger customers, so expanding the shop’s plant selection was a way to drive more foot traffic from her daughters’ generation into the store. “We originally kept plant merchandise in the back,” said Molly, “then my daughter Maureen said, ‘Why do we hide all the plants in the back?’” Since then, they’ve built a display wall to prominently feature the plants and are working on converting the space next door into a plant room.
Another improvement Molly made was by investing in Maggie & Moe’s social media presence. They hired a social media team that works with other small businesses in the community to get them through the holidays, but the extra expense proved profitable. “All the social media sites have driven foot traffic,” said Molly, “and since they also work with local small businesses, they’re able to coordinate fun partnerships.” You can check out their Instagram @maggieandmoespoplar for adorable inspiration and see why extra advertising is worth it.
The future is full of flowers for Molly with her business acumen at the helm. They’ve recently franchised to a local hospital, opening a small flower shop with full coffee service. “We opened a coffee shop during COVID, so it’s been a learning experience, but we knew the hospital staff needed attention.” There’s also talk of converting the storage house next door into a coffee shop to increase visitors. The trendiest extension they’re considering is a flower truck, which Molly notes isn’t practical since they deliver to a relatively small area, but says, “Could be lots of fun for farmers’ markets, brand equity, or parked downtown.”
The Barrett’s have only owned the shop for three years, but this may be the beginning of a generational shop. “My youngest, Maureen, knows everything about plants and social media content creation, and the older daughter, Maggie, hopes to teach at the school around the street, and helping at the shop when she can.” Molly’s advice to other aspiring florists is to “build a network of people smarter than you to ask questions, and not being afraid to ask those questions.” Within the FTD network, she’s fostered an excellent working relationship with more seasoned florists who have helped her with industry-specific problems.
Maggie & Moe’s Poplar Flowers & Decor is a shining example of how to honor an established community brand’s heritage while also applying modern business strategies to ensure the next 100 years of neighbors can enjoy the same beautiful flowers their predecessors did. Her last piece of advice caters to partners who want to avoid buying flowers for their significant other, as Molly’s husband suggests, “I don’t need to buy my wife flowers because I helped her buy a flower shop.”
We’ve previously highlighted other legacy florists in FTD’s pantheon, including New York’s Konstantinos Louis Vellios of Avenue J Florist and Jimmy Basin, owner of Bird of Paradise Flowers in Philadelphia, PA.