Paige Tarver owns and runs Medford Florist & Boutique, 2510 Route 112 in Medford, in a building that was first built in 1904. In addition to being a florist, her store is the location of the Medford book drop for the . Patch talked with Tarver about what it is like running her business.
Patch: Describe what your business is?
Tarver: We are a full florist and boutique that specializes in everything from flowers, plants, gifts, jewelry, scarves, candles, custom gift baskets, fruit baskets, wedding flowers, funeral flowers and everyday occasions. If you tell us what you need we can make almost anything.
Patch: Where are you from and what is your personal/professional background?
Tarver: We are originally from Brooklyn and moved to the Island when I was a young girl. My father originally worked in Nassau County for a large florist who was one of the top six designers on Long Island. He was not only talented in the art of floral design but also did work at the Nassau Coliseum with a combination of animation and flowers combined. He opened his own store when I was 13 with hopes of a strong family business. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. My uncle was the original owner and moved on to work for Disney World in Florida. At that time my father took over his brother's business and sold his own.
Unfortunately, due to his health issues he decided to close the second store and that’s where I stepped in. I had worked for my dad well over 20 years. I first learned to clean the market, then arranging flowers and before I knew it I became a full time designer.
Over the years I became emotionally attached to the store. Built in 1904, the store was one of the icons of Medford. I loved our building and the town of Medford which is why our family moved here when I married Gene Tarver Jr.
I am now a seasoned florist with 27 years in the floral industry and now the proud owner of Medford Florist & Boutique.
Patch: What do you hope to accomplish with your business?
Tarver: My hope for the store is first to always appreciate what I have. I am very blessed to have such wonderful customers and great relationships with the local businesses.
I opened at a terrible time with the economy being so volatile. Many times I would feel at my worst but some of my customers were able to see what I thought was not visible. During this time some would stop by just to pray with me and for me and I knew the Lord sent them and we became friends.
Some of the businesses shared their experiences and provided encouragement letting me know I was not alone. These are the things that have changed and strengthened me.
When I look at a small business I now see something very different then I did before. I see sacrifice, commitment and harder work than I ever imagined, along with the respect for what they do. I hope to accomplish giving back to the community and the other businesses what they have given me. I am truly blessed.
Patch: What types of flower arrangements/occasions do you specialize in?
Tarver: We specialize in everything and love challenges. Making flowers is our specialty, but you name it and we can make it. We carry plants, gifts, jewelry, scarves, candles, custom gift baskets and fruit baskets of any style and taste, wedding flowers, funeral flowers and everyday occasions.
Patch: What is your favorite and least favorite aspect of running your business?
Tarver: My favorite thing about my business is my customers who always tell me the store feels like home. I love it when the store is decorated for a holiday when it has that warm cozy feeling and smells good. My least favorite thing about the store? I don’t think I really can say I love it!!!
Patch: What specific challenges do you face with running your business and making it work in today's economy?
Tarver: The first challenges I face are having people love the store but forget that we're right here in Medford! The second challenge is the 1-800-flower services and not only 1-800-flowers specifically but all of the online order gatherers that are not REAL FLORISTS! Here is an example of how you are spending more money and getting fewer flowers: If you purchase an arrangement for $40 you get a wire fee of $12.99 and a delivery fee of $10.00 which is $62.99 without sales tax. The flower shop receives only $40.00 (nothing else) and the wire service takes 28% from the florist ….when you use these services you are making the middle man rich. My advice, CALL DIRECT- go to Google, type “florist in the town and state” and find a local florist so your money goes to your flower order. Sorry, but I am passionate about this one.
Patch: How can people reach you?
Tarver: We can be reached at:
Medford Florist & Boutique
2510 Route 112
Medford N.Y. 11763
In Business Beat, Patch will talk to local business owners in the Patchogue and Medford area of new and established places in the area. Want to be featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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