Victoria Business Magazine Article
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.