OOne of the most iconic Boerne businesses, the Boerne Flower Shop has some very deep roots in this town. Its owner, Mary Pat Williams, is focused on not only the history and the relationships that have been created over something as simple as a bouquet of flowers, but is also focused on the growth and service that have made the business famous locally.
And as with any business, Mary Pat’s motivation is certainly to put food on her own table as well as those of her employees, but as you’ll read, it goes much deeper than that.
Originally from New Jersey, Boerne became home for Mary Pat following a divorce. “I came down here because my sister was here, and frankly, I just wanted a fresh start.” While Mary Pat was new to the area, The Flower Shop wasn’t. She continues, “The Flower Shop started 65 years ago. Shirley Wilson was part owner with Mary Eckert, who just recently passed away. Shirley bought her out eventually and she ran and operated it since the mid ‘70s until 2016. I worked for Shirley for 12 of those years as a floral designer.”
But Mary Pat’s floral expertise was polished with her own shop in San Antonio. She explains, “I used to have a small shop in San Antonio – I sold that in ‘91 to an employee and I helped my husband and my sons in their plumbing business for many years. I helped them out and did my floral design on the side, as it’s truly a love of my life. I love to see people smile and be happy and see it as sort of a mission for me. Flowers have a way of making people universally smile, and I’ve loved it my whole life.”
As she enjoyed her work with Shirley and the many smiles she produced, the opportunity arose. She says, “Shirley got sick in ‘14 – we were at market and she wasn’t doing too well and when we got back she got checked and we found out she had cancer. She’s in remission today, but she couldn’t come back. So she offered it to me. So I bought it from her in 2016 and I hope that I’m doing right by her.”
With a new business, Mary Pat was tasked quickly with some major decisions, such as moving the business from its location that it had enjoyed for years. She continues, “We moved to our new location on North Main Street because we needed more space. I had tried to do a little building in the front of the old location and that didn’t work due to the city regulations. We needed more room to do our wedding and event rentals. That happened just this past summer. It was a hard decision to move. It was necessary because we had to grow, times are changing, and the world is changing. We used to be the only flower shop for many years, and that’s not the case any more. We had to find different avenues to bring in revenue, and now we have a 3 bay building full of every rental need you can imagine, and that was so necessary and I’m happy with how that is going.”
With a new location, Mary Pat was tasked with leading the company through not only a change in scenery, but a changing demographic of customers. She explains, “We’ve noticed that with the generation now, they like to touch and see. Back in the day, people would call and say “I have this amount to spend for this person – do what you want” but now, people want to come in and look at their options and define their budget and make their selections. It’s great – we love them being more interactive with what they want and we really felt that was lacking at the old location. They can literally sit and watch us make their arrangements, and we love that. We also have classes now and those have been extremely popular.”
With a pandemic, The Boerne Flower Shop wasn’t immune to the fallout. While challenging, the changing environment has been confronted and, according to Mary Pat, conquered. She continues, “Usually we are completely dead right now in the heat of summer but we haven’t had that. This pandemic hasn’t effected us in some ways that it’s effected others and that’s been a blessing also. More people are ordering flowers also because they can’t go visit people so that has changed things a bit as well. With our new technologies, it’s helped a lot.”
As we hopefully begin to put the pandemic behind us, The Flower Shop is also poised for the future and Mary Pat is leading the team forward. She explains, “Maintain and grow is what’s next. I’ve joined some professional organizations that have helped us grow our business and expand and we’re feeling great about the results we’re seeing. We’ve learned a lot, and now we’re really honing our design skills and growing in our tactics and designs and minimizing waste for our arrangements so that we can keep prices down. We’re extremely excited about what we’re working through and how that is going. Our own professional development is increasing and we’re really focusing on that.”
Every business is built on its customer base and those interactions, and Mary Pat takes this responsibility very seriously. And with that, she is so happy that her customers come from this area. She smiles and says, “I think that Boerne has been amazing to this business. Shirley knows so many people and so many people still ask for her. People ask how she is. They call to just chat. She has made such a huge impact, and I have to follow in those footsteps. I strive everyday to make sure I don’t lose a customer, to keep a happy customer, and we try to go above and beyond and there’s not one person I don’t want to satisfy. And Boerne has really responded to that. Some clients come every single week for the same arrangement, and they are just part of our family. And I just love that.”
But at the end of the day, the motivation goes far beyond revenues and paychecks and bills. For Mary Pat, it’s deeply emotional and something she respects greatly. She finishes, “I enjoy coming here. Yes it’s tiring and frustrating during the holidays and slow times, and it can be stressful. I really just enjoy making people smile really. We answer the phone that way with “It’s a great day at the Flower Shop!” and you can hear them smile on the phone. That means a lot to me that we can brighten someone’s day. Our drivers and delivery team don’t get enough credit for what they do. They’re the face oftentimes. Their personality is so important and we just so appreciate them. Everyone’s job here is so important. Rita has been here for 35 years and people have grown to know and love her, and she’s just an example. Liz has been here 12 years. Those relationships matter so much to me and it just makes me so happy.”
The Boerne Flower Shop
827 N Main St
Boerne, TX 78006