Case Study: Small business, big impact

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TLC Country Floral’s greenhouse expansion has helped it keep up with customer interest

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October 1, 2012
Laura Allen

TLC Country Floral may be “in the middle of nowhere,” as Owner Sue Fase describes it, but the small business, located in Hooper, Neb., still attracts thousands of customers. Run by Fase and her husband, TLC Country Floral not only grows and dries flowers, it offers shop and garden tours on its 5.5-acre property, where visitors can see 200 container gardens and catch a glimpse of some of the unusual plants the Fases specialize in. When customer interest grew in the latter, the couple knew it was time to expand.

“We started out with a 10 by 10, just like a little hobby house, thinking that was pretty sufficient for us to grow just the plants that we needed for our property,” Fase says. “As our customers’ interests grew, they wanted to purchase the unusual plants as well. So that’s when we expanded into our larger facility, and it measures 28 by 30.”

Fase says there were no hesitations or concerns about expanding.

“We knew that we were missing out on that market. We’re very much a mom-and-pop kind of operation. We’re small and we want to stay small,” Fase says. “We have no interest in growing thousands of flats of petunias. Our customers know when they come here that they’re not going to buy all the plants they need for their gardens. But they know they’re going to find the ones that people are going to notice. We started hearing … ‘Oh, where can we get this?’ So we knew that that interest was there and it was something we should do.”

Once the Fases decided it was time to expand, it was important to find the right greenhouse. They wanted a greenhouse that wasn’t too large, so that heating it in the winter wouldn’t be a financial burden. They went with a gothic-style unit, which gives them more room for hanging baskets toward the top. They also opted for a polycarbonate covering because of the severe weather they sometimes face, including thunderstorms, wind and hail.

“We’ve had some hail storms, and our greenhouse survived beautifully,” Fase says.

The expansion has proven to be a wise decision.

“It’s helped our business grow,” Fase says. “It’s given us a whole new direction on the business end.”



Want to know more?

TLC Country Floral, (402) 654-2058; www.tlccountryfloral.blogspot.com