Five years ago if you’d asked Chris Nadeau what he’d be doing in 2005, it’s doubtful he would have predicted that he’d be owning and running a flower shop.
But life takes us on many untraveled paths, and five years later Nadeau is doing just that. He and his partner (life and business) Jerry Gabbard have combined their business and creative skills to make Blooming Boutique one of Nashville’s blooming businesses.
“My background has always been in business management,” Nadeau said. “Before we opened our flower shop I was the CFO for the largest travel agency in Nashville. Jerry was in retail management.”
But one day Gabbard approached his partner and asked him what he thought about purchasing an existing business, a flower shop.
“I have always wanted to start my own business, however, I didn’t have a creative background,” Nadeau explained. “Jerry has been in the floral business before and is very talented in unique creative designs.”
After talking to the owner and pursuing some due diligence, Nadeau said they purchased the shop, and jumped right in to make changes to “mold the shop to the way we wanted our customers to view us.”
And two weeks from what is commonly the busiest day of the year for florists – Valentine’s Day – Blooming Boutique Flowers and Gifts was opened n February 1, 2002.
“Yes, two weeks before Valentine’s Day,” Nadeau said with a laugh. “No better way to get your feet wet. So with my business background and Jerry’s creative background, the fit was perfect.”
Since that fateful opening day, their business has grown quite rapidly, with the acquisition of six stores.
“I believe the main reason we have maintained our growth is because we have one simple rule,” Nadeau said. “The customer always comes first. Jerry and I truly stand behind this. If you don’t have a customer you don’t have a business. We back every gift, arrangement, and sale by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and guarantee our arrangements for seven days with no questions asked. Due to this philosophy word of mouth has spread and is the best advertisement.”
While both men now call Nashville their home, neither are native Nashvillians.
“I moved here in 1998 from New Jersey following a then-partner, whose family lived here and I fell in love with Nashville,” Nadeau said. “Jerry moved here in 1993 from Indiana for the same reason. We now consider Nashville our home.”
The floral industry is extremely competitive, not only locally but also with Web only businesses that offer flowers direct from the grower.
That means greater choices for the consumer, but Nadeau warns that the buyer beware, especially when ordering from “direct from the grower Web sites.”
“They claim they can send twice as many flowers for half the cost of a retail florist,” he explained. “However, what they don’t tell you is that the quality isn’t the same.”
He said he and Gabbard offer many value added services that consumers can’t get from Web site florists.
“This means high style designs, guaranteed arrangements, and top notch customer service,” he said. “Consumers today want different and unique" looks for their gifts. We will be expanding our business in the future to include more home interior products that will compliment our existing business to provide our customers with more unique items.”
For more information, contact Blooming Boutique, 4511 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN, 615-383-4310, or visit their Web site at www.thebloomingboutique.com.