This is a great story of a local business owner I had the privilage to write recently. It was a joy both speaking with her, learning about her business and writing this article for her!
We all have heard the advice “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Many entrepreneurs will tell you that advice is exactly what they have done to turn their passion into their life’s work. Sometimes, there is a heartfelt twist to fuel an entrepreneur’s passion; a chance to jump into a family business that not only brings forth the opportunity to inspire one’s own creativity but also to carry on the legacy built by a loved one.
Rewind the clock back to a simpler time and two young girls who happened to be cousins, both who fell in love with the joys of flowers and flower arrangement.
This is where the intertwining story of Dee Dee Foster and Pam Taylor begins. The two girls had only a 9 month age span between them which made them relate to each other well. As young girls they played together, dreamed together and established a solid friendship, never did they dream in those young days that their lives would come full circle with Pam bestowing on Dee Dee a business she had worked on for most of her adult life.
Both ladies had worked for Proper’s Florist and Greenhouse before it was sold. At that time Pam decided to open her own shop which became Floral Expressions by Pam. Dee Dee took another route taking a position first for an insurance business and then later with Zippo. Both ladies found success and joy in their respective careers for many years.
And came the terrible news. Pam was sick. She had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In the same way she worked to grow her floral business she worked to get better. Beating many odds, Pam survived 12 years with her cancer diagnosis all the while attending to her beloved floral business. Sadly though on September 12, 2013 a heartfelt post came up on Facebook. Pam had decided it was time to sell her business. The demands of her illness were taking a toll on her and she sadly expressed that “it was time” to start looking for a new owner for her business.
Dee Dee considered buying the business. She questioned whether she could do it but like all true entrepreneurs the desire to see the business move forward was greater than her fear of the unknown. In October the decisions were made and the sale became final with Pam sharing the great news on her own business page on Facebook.
With the sale an amazing connection was re-established between the two women. Dee Dee spent as much time as she could with Pam learning the intricacies of the business as much as time would allow. It was also a wonderful time for the two women to re-connect and friends and cousins. A deep respect grew quickly. “Pam was amazing,” Dee Dee shared. “She had kept amazing records so I knew where to order from, what to order and all the other ins and outs that would make me successful. Pam shared everything with me.”
When asked what challenges she faced Dee Dee was honest when she shared that navigating the relationships with Pam’s previous employees was an area of concern for her. “Pam had worked with several employees for years and I really wanted them to stay with me. I knew they added to our worth overall but I wasn’t sure they would want to stay. Dee Dee happily shared that Pam’s employees decided to stay on and their experience and creativity has been a huge asset to the business.
Sadly in January of this year Pam Taylor lost her long battle with ovarian cancer. Dee Dee was heart-broken and has come to truly treasure the time the two spent together. Dee Dee spoke of the conversations they shared and of the pictures she would bring to Pam showing her various displays at the stores and floral creations. “I almost felt guilty changing anything but again Pam was wonderful as she encouraged me to make the business my own. She kept saying that we had come ‘full circle’ in our lives together.”
Carrying on Pam’s legacy by adhering to the same standards of quality and creative design is of utmost importance to Dee Dee. The shops Valentine’s Day sales indicated the solid customer base the shop has enjoyed in the past approves of the new management. “We had a great season and that felt like a success for both of Pam and myself,” Dee Dee confided.
Floral Expressions by Pam is looking forward to serving the community through Easter, Mother’s Day, the upcoming prom and wedding season and beyond. According to Dee Dee Foster honoring Pam’s memory at Floral Expressions by Pam is more than just a business goal—it’s a personal mission.