World of Flowers

by Alana Allen | May 5th, 2011
Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards (Photo by Greg Coats)

For twenty seven years World of Flowers has been a family owned and operated florist. Husband and wife, Thomas and Judy Edwards established their business in June 1984 in Durham, N.C. and run it with their son Dwayne. In addition to owning a flourishing business, Thomas and Judy have been happily married for 42 years.

World of Flowers specializes in floral designs for all occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, well wishes and weddings. Also, they have the opportunity to share many special occasions with different schools, fraternities, sororities and churches in the community. The floral company delivers throughout Durham and the Research Triangle Park.

Thomas Edwards reflects on his first inspiration, his mother-in-law who owned a florist, and the times when he helped her during special occasions. Before he opened World of Flowers, he learned a lot of little tidbits from her about creating, making supplies last longer, working with people and always remembering to enjoy the job. “I’m inspired by our customers who value what we do for them and return with family and friends because they believe in us,” says Thomas Edwards. “I’m inspired by our ‘family unit’ because we work through the good days and bad days; continuing to support one another. Most of all, I’m inspired by the tenacity we’ve shown by making the difficult decisions necessary to get through these difficult times and meet our obligations.”

Staying open and viable during this economic slump has been one of the major challenges the Edwards family has faced during their tenure. Being unable to hire extra help during peak seasons, feeling uncomfortable raising prices while their customer base suffers economic crisis and operating such a large account base while waiting for account payments when no one is walking through the door has been stressful. In addition, fluctuating gas prices and ever increasing operating expenses have proven to be difficult. The economy today allows for less money to provide the same services. Having to fill up the gas tank two to three times a week to handle delivery requirements, a function customers feel should be free, weighs much heavier on the company’s operating capital. The Edwards family realized that how they deal with these difficulties can mean the difference between staying open or closing.

Edwards advises future entrepreneurs to develop a business plan and to research what it means to be in business and understand the community and consumers that your business will serve. Also, a good accountant and lawyer are a must. Entrepreneurs, he says, must be willing to work 24/7 because sometimes they will only be able to rely on themselves. This reason alone is why people should really love what they do. Advertising is beneficial however word of mouth from a satisfied or dissatisfied customer can be resounding. Most importantly, owners should learn to be flexible and develop new avenues when business decreases and be open to suggestions and new ideas.

World of Flowers’ goal is to continue to stay active and provide quality customer service. Futuristically, Thomas and Judy are positioning World of Flowers to be managed by their son Dwayne, ensuring that the same level of service will continue to be provided to the citizens and businesses in their community.

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