ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
She chose the name Forget-Me-Not Flower Shop because it has a special double meaning.
“People who are buying flowers will not forget those people who they are buying them for,” said owner Jan Frantz. “And I will not forget how important their order is to me. My slogan is-I will not forget you.”
Located at 105 E. Grand in Hillsboro, the new floral shop offers fresh flowers, candles, balloons, silk flowers and gifts.
The store officially opened Nov. 1, and Frantz plans a four-day open house from Wednesday, Nov. 12 to Saturday, Nov. 15.
Formerly employed with another florist in town, Frantz was looking for a job when others encouraged her to open her own store.
“I was not even thinking about doing this,” Frantz said. “And people said, ‘Jan, start your own. You can do this.'”
Husband Leonard is a mail carrier for the Hillsboro Post Office, and the couple have four children between the ages of 11 and 25.
Born in WaKeeney, Frantz has lived in Hillsboro since she was 9. She graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1971 and took some college classes through the years.
Located just north of Hillsboro is the couple’s 15-acre homestead, where they raise hogs.
For three years, she was a rural mail carrier for the Hillsboro Post Office. During that time, she also helped set up the new Alco Discount Store in Hillsboro.
Her next employment venue was a clerk in the Hesston Post Office-a Part-Time Flex position that lasted for nine years.
She went to work for the local florist in June of 2002 and left that job a year later. That experience gave her the “confidence and knowledge” to feel she was capable of running her own business, Frantz said.
“I’ve always done lots of crafts and teaching crafts-doing flowers and all kinds of stuff for everybody. That was always my first love-I love being creative. That’s one of the things I like to do best.”
When she left her last job, she had the free time to design the flowers and decorations for her daughter’s wedding.
“It was God’s timing, and it was really, really good,” Frantz said. “It’s funny how you look back on things and say ‘Yes, that was good.'”
In September, friend and fellow church member Marlene Fast of Fast Realty Inc., asked Frantz to answer phones a couple of days a week in her realty office.
While working there, Frantz realized there was empty space available in Fast’s offices to sublet.
On the heels of an opportunity to work for a florist in Marion, Frantz decided Oct. 1 it was finally time to take the plunge and open her own store.
“A few people said, ‘If you’re going to do it for somebody else, do it for yourself,'” Frantz said.
Formerly an office of the Hillsboro Police Department, the shop’s decor of brown paneling and rust carpeting was changed to fit a floral motif.
She also has a bathroom and back work space shared with Fast Realty.
“The loan I took out is basically going to cover everything I’ve done from painting to carpeting to all the fixtures,” Frantz said.
Those fixtures include a three-door floral cooler measuring 81-inches long and 79-inches high.
“And if things don’t work out, we’ll have a really big refrigerator,” Frantz said laughing.
The large cooler holds her supply of fresh flowers until she finds an additional cooler for her back workroom.
Her fixtures include a block display, a four-tier circular-glass display and two displays made of light-weight wood. She also found a corner spot for a faux fireplace to add charm and warmth to her interior.
“When I first sat down and talked about this, you think of the first four things people come in to a flower shop to buy,” Frantz said. “First of all is flowers. And in Hillsboro, a lot of people come in to buy balloons. The next thing is candles and then gifts.”
As a florist, she offers a variety of fresh flowers-cut or arranged-as well as silk-flower arrangements and free enclosure cards.
“I will always have roses, because there are always people coming in wanting one single rose or the guy who’s in trouble and wants lots of roses,” Frantz said.
“I’ll do a lot of seasonal arrangements. I’ll have a lot of poinsettia plants for Christmas. I get the poinsettias from a local grower-from Hesston-so they’re not shipped in.”
Frantz offers two types of candles-the traditional wax candle and soy candles.
The soy candles are made of soy oil. “They’re really cool, they don’t burn black, and they burn longer,” Frantz said.
With the aide of a newly purchased helium machine, she has balloons for any occasion.
Her most popular balloons are “Happy Birthday” and “Thinking of You.”
As she begins her business venture, her gift items are limited-due to space constraints and a saturated local market.
“I’m not going into crafts in a big way right now, because there’s a lot of craft shops in Hillsboro,” Frantz said.
Among the amenities she offers are free delivery within the city limits of Hillsboro. She has not established wire services, such as FTD and Teleflorist, but is considering that in the future.
As the sole owner, she will be in charge of flower arranging, ordering, managing and keeping the books. But she also has help from daughter, Laci Frantz.
With an artistic eye, Frantz has paid attention to details on the exterior of her store, too.
When told her store frontage was incognito, she knew she had to do two things, Frantz said. She replaced the solid-wood entrance door with a new door and a glass panel insert-so customers could window shop and see her interior displays.
And she found a large, old cedar fence to attach to the windowless exterior-brick wall. After covering the fence with white wash, Frantz hired artist Barbara Chavez to paint a profuse arrangement of lilac forget-me-not flowers under the words “Forget-Me-Not Flower Shop.”
A black rod-iron arbor sits in front of her door to welcome customers to visit her. “I’ll fill it with greens and pots,” Frantz said.
Frantz said she is keeping her prices competitive to encourage residents and Tabor students to shop locally. She has joined the local Chamber of Commerce and will offer a small cup of coffee to her customers when they enter her store.
“I’ll always have coffee here with different blends,” Frantz said. “I want people to come in, have a cup of coffee and a place to visit.”
Her reaction to opening her shop has been positive and encouraging, she said.
“People coming in and the businesses around here have been so excited,” Frantz said. “One older guy here in town came up to me-just had to touch me-and whispered, ‘I’m so glad you’re doing this.’ That was so sweet.”
Frantz hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday; and closed Sunday. For more information or to place orders, she can be reached at 947-2270.
“Don’t be afraid to ask me to do anything-little or big,” Frantz said she tells her customers. “Nothing’s too small, and nothing’s too big.”