September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

A blooming business

Thesing opens flower shop in Rushford
Owning a flower shop has always been a dream for Cindy Thesing. She said now that her family’s farm is in a stable place, it has been a good time to start the flower venture. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY KRISTA SHEEHAN
Owning a flower shop has always been a dream for Cindy Thesing. She said now that her family’s farm is in a stable place, it has been a good time to start the flower venture. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY KRISTA SHEEHAN

By By Krista M. Sheehan- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

RUSHFORD, Minn. - Business and flowers are blooming for Cindy Thesing.
After years in the floral business, Thesing opened her own flower shop, Root River Floral, on Aug. 16 in Rushford, Minn. Thesing and her husband, Doug, along with the help of their children, Brandon and his wife, Abby (both 23), and Aaron (19), milk 200 cows on their farm near Winona, Minn.
"I like working with Doug (on the farm), but this is my passion," Thesing said about the flower shop. "We're established on the dairy farm so now Doug's helped me with this business. It's still surreal that it really happened because it's so much work."
With her floral shop, Thesing said she enjoys how flowers help people. She still remembers the moment she made this realization - during her first delivery to a funeral.
"The body was out for viewing. That was all I saw because there were no flowers. After we set up and before we left, I looked back and all I saw were the flowers. Flowers at a funeral really help family with grief and comfort. I like that," she said.
She also likes helping brides with their bouquets and flower arrangements.
"When a bride is able to look back at her flowers on her wedding day, that's pretty special," Thesing said.
Thesing first became interested in flowers during high school, when she competed on the floriculture and horticulture teams in FFA. Since then, flowers had always been in the back of her mind.
"It had always been a goal of mine to open a flower shop," Thesing said.
But working in the floral industry didn't surface right away. Instead, she and Doug were married after graduating from high school in 1986 and started farming with her parents.
"We planned to go to college and we knew we wanted to farm, but if we didn't come back right away my dad would have sold the cows in the [seven-year] buyout," Thesing said. "The farm would have had to sit empty and we didn't want that to happen. So we just did it. We started farming [after high school]."
Thesing worked on the farm and raised her kids. When her younger son, Aaron, went into first grade, Thesing started working part-time at a flower shop in Winona, Minn. When her family built the parlor in the early 2000s, Thesing's work load on the farm decreased, allowing her to pick up more hours at the flower shop.
"The labor end on the farm got easier ... and the kids helped more on the farm as they got older," Thesing said.
Shortly after, she started a full-time position at La Crosse Floral in La Crosse, Wis. She spent nine years there gaining experience and enjoying her work until she decided to act on her goal.
"I was tired of driving and heard about this opportunity through word of mouth," Thesing said.
Carol Ann Johnson, whose flower shop was based in the milk house of her family's vacant dairy barn, was looking to sell her business. At the same time, Thesing found the offices at a lumber yard in Rushford were for rent.
"It seemed like the right time for me to do this," she said about opening her own flower shop.
Thesing purchased Johnson's inventory and started preparing the space, which had been a hardware store. She and Doug attended auctions looking for old doors and porch posts, and pulled grape vines out of trees. They also took boards out of barns and Doug helped take down a granary for tin. Together, they transformed the space from an all-white tin garage look into a rustic country atmosphere.
"We did all of it," Thesing said about the decorating she and Doug did during the six weeks before the shop opened on Aug. 16. "It was a lot of fun to do everything together with Doug."
Although the shop hasn't been open long, Thesing said everything is going well; however, Thesing also said she is glad she waited this long to create her own business.
"Having more experience has made it easier," she said.
Thesing learned most of her skills on the job during her years working for other florists.
"I've had a lot of great teachers and time to learn," she said.
She has also attended a Minnesota certified florist course and other state floral conferences.
Although making arrangements hasn't been difficult, having her own business is a change and a challenge.
"I can't say the business end is my favorite part. There's a lot of paperwork to start a business," Thesing said. "Retail is so much different than owning a dairy farm."
However, there are similarities to dairying. Thesing compared some of her busy times to harvest season.
"It's like when the crops are ready, you have to do it and get it done now," Thesing said. "There are days where it's quiet or I might have four funerals in one day."
But challenges and all, Thesing is looking forward to her future as a flower shop owner.
"It's really fun now that I'm here. I feel like I'm getting myself established," she said. "I feel really fortunate and blessed that we were in a place where I could open a business and we could still have our dairy farm."[[In-content Ad]]


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