TLC Garden Center, LaHarpe, is one of 15 businesses statewide that will be recognized by the Kansas Small Business Development Center for its ability to continue thriving in a sluggish economy.
TLC is one of eight Existing Businesses of the Year that will be recognized at a March 15 ceremony in Topeka. Seven others were classified as Emerging Businesses of the Year. The businesses were selected from nearly 2,300 entrepeneurs that received KSDBC services in 2010.
“During the last year the overall economic situation has created opportunities and obstacles,” Wally Kearns, KSBDC state director, said in a press release. “The determining factors in selecting the businesses included looking at how the businesses maneuvered through the obstacles and how they shifted priorities or operations to remain profitable.”
TLC Garden Center was opened as TLC Greenhouse by Corinna Heard in 2000. It was during a trip to the greenhouse as a sixth-grader that her daughter, now Savanna Flory, became interested in the family business.
Flory eventually earned a degree in horticulture from Kansas State University, helping continue the business after her mother’s death in 2006. She returned to TLC with her fiance (and now husband) Levi Flory in 2007 to run the business full time. The Florys purchased TLC from Savannah’s father, John Heard, in 2009, changing its name officially to TLC Garden Center.
Flory credited the Small Business Development Center for its assistance as she weighed how to purchase TLC. Working with KSDBC consultants, Flory developed a business plan, which qualified her for an attractive loan for capital and purchase of the business.
As spring approaches — the heart of the year for the garden center — the Florys will put in 70 to 80 workweeks.
“I think that hard work is the key to success,” Flory said. “You have to put the hours in to really know your business, research what other businesses in your field are doing to succeed, and never settle on being just average.
“Some people may think that owning your own business gets you out of putting hours in, that once you get to that point, you get to set your own hours and work whenever you want,” she continued. “But that’s not the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
“I love our type of business, because people who are shopping for flowers are just happy people,” Flory said. “It is not something they have to buy, like groceries or gas; they come here because they want to and enjoy it.”
TLC can be reached at (620) 496-1234.
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