This article is reprinted from the Victoria Advocate, with permission. The full citation follows the article.
When Joe McAdams returned to Texas after serving in the Army during World War II, he did what many other military men did: He found a new job.
After a friend persuaded him to work at a small flower shop in Victoria, he found his calling.
"He never got tired of flowers," said his wife, Adel McAdams. "He really enjoyed it."
Now, Joe McAdams, 92, spends most of his time at their home in Victoria as he lives with dementia and requires a walker. Though he no longer visits the namesake flower shop, it's still very much a part of the family.
He started McAdams Floral on May 1, 1975, out of the home the couple had purchased as a rental property.
Cynthia Atchison, who is the daughter of McAdams, remembers her parents renting a small home on Red River Street to tenants and making payments on the property. When her dad was ready to open his own floral shop, they used the land they already owned.
"Back then you had to save to open a business, there were no business loans," Atchison, 57, said.
Throughout the years, the small space was transformed by the addition of another showroom, a larger workspace and area for the deliveries. The greenhouse behind the business was the latest addition to the building.
In 1999, Joe McAdams retired from his flower business and his daughter took over the operation. He was 77 at retirement and had spent more than 50 years working in an industry that he loved dearly.
"He was the designer, the delivery man, took care of sales and did the books," said Adel McAdams.
When he retired, she said it was the only time he took a vacation. Joe McAdams worked every holiday season to make sure customers received a quality product with his name on it. Making people smile was one his favorite things about the business.
"He always said he worked with the most beautiful product in the world," said Adel McAdams of her husband.
He never had a favorite flower, but instead enjoyed every flower he put incorporated into an arrangement, she said.
As for Adel, she still visits the shop during busy times to offer an extra hand or to bring the crew something to eat when they can't get away. She was never much of a designer for the company, but took over the books when she left her job with the social security administration.
When her children were growing up, she remember Atchison arranging flowers in mayonnaise jars and placing them in the shop window to sell to customers.
"Dad would never tell us to take them out of the window, but instead acted like he bought them," Atchison said.
Adel McAdams said it was a natural step for Atchison, who is the oldest of their two children, to take over the business.
She studied horticulture after moving away from Victoria, and eventually returned home and started back up behind the counter.
Mickey DeDear, a designer for the floral company, started under Joe McAdams' supervision. She was hired on the spot when she was 19 and has been there ever since.
"It's still fun to work here," she said. "I started as a driver and then trained right here."
Atchison sounded like her mom as she explained how obvious it can be that some people will train better than others.
"She's so talented," she said about DeDear. "She's one of our best designers."
When Atchison took over the business, she said adding computers to the operation was a must. Her dad filled out every order by hand, wrote out each receipt and when he didn't, he did it by typewriter.
"Sometimes you have to embrace change to stay in the mix," she said.
Other changes that have occurred in 40 years of the McAdams business, include additions to the building, foam instead of frogs, shapes of trends in vases and the cyclical trends of flowers. Women still love to get flowers for special occasions, and flowers always brighten the day of whoever receives them, Atchison said.
"Oh, and fresh mums. That's really changed. They're made with bows and silk flowers, now," she said. "We don't have to stay up the night before the to get them done before the dance."
Author and Source Citation:
Jessica Rodrigo, Victoria Advocate, May 30th, 2015
by Gypsy Cole
She said she never wanted to date anyone who was in the Texas A&M Corps, or anyone who drove a pickup. He was a pickup-driving Corpsman who she met on a blind date. They dated while they were attending A&M, married, had children and became business partners as well.
"Cynthia had to eat her words," laughs Clay Atchison (as in "...Topeka and Santa Fe"), who with his wife, owns the popular, successful McAdams Floral.
Cynthia's father, Joe McAdams opened the florist shop in 1975, after he'd worked for House of Flowers for 30 years. After the war, he lived in Austin and then moved to Victoria.
"He knew he wanted his own place," explains Atchison. "He purchased this lot with the house after the Air Force base closed down, and it was a good location for the shop. He had an older son who was a graduate of A&M, and Cynthia was getting ready to go. He was concerned about being able to pay for the building with the expense of the University, but he opened a couple of days before Mother's Day and the business took off. A lot of people knew him - so they came."
The business grew and within the first five years, they expanded the building several times to give them more space. Atchison, originally from Midland, Texas, graduated with a degree in building construction in 1979 - the same year that Cynthia graduated with a degree in floriculture. They lived in Houston, where he was a commercial construction project manager and estimator until 1991.
"Joe was implying that he wanted to retire," says Atchison. "Our kids were school age and we weren't excited about the Houston schools - the report about finding LSD in those stick-on tattoos in an elementary school helped make our decision. Cynthia already knew the business, as she had worked at the shop summers and vacations when we were in school. Joe showed me the ropes and in 1999, he transferred ownership to both of us.
The shop employs five full-time designers and two part-time, plus eight other full-time employees and four part-time. Atchison handles the public relations and marketing, acts as a sounding board for ideas and tries to resolve challenges. Cynthia works in silk and floral designs and acts as Atchison's sounding board. Both are active in the community, the Chamber of Commerce and networking with other business.
Most of the employees have been with the business for a long time - and part of the business' success lies in the teamwork.
"We have a good crew," says Atchison, "and they know how to take care of their usual duties and unusual situations. They work well with our customers. We like the designers to think 'outside the box' - it's easy to make simple designs - we like for them to try different approaches. We send them to seminars, we subscribe to trade magazines to keep up with the trends, colors and new flower types. We try to incorporate the designs with distinctive, hand-painted or decorator containers so that the customers have a keepsake item after the flowers are gone."
"We've really got a good selection of gift baskets," says the Aggie grad, who even wears an A&M watch. "The baskets are alternatives to flowers - the beer and chips and salsa basket is a great gift for guys and the wine basket is often used as a business gift."
"The floral industry is about sending out products," he continues, "but it's more about expressing emotions. That's what we provide for our customers - we help them express emotions to their family, friends and business associates."
McAdams Floral is in Victoria. Contact McAdams Floral at (800)677-8185 or visit their website at www.mcadamsfloral.com.