The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 5, 2012

A store of inspiration: Hilltop Florist still grows its own

(Continued)

MANKATO —

Kathy: I’ve been fortunate enough to be given responsibility, to learn the business from Larry and Noel. They’ve been fabulous mentors from all aspects: designing, going to market, accounting, being fiscally responsible, personnel and how to be a grower.

 

MVB: How do you gain a competitive edge in the floral greenhouse market?

Larry: One of the skill sets you both have is your artistic talents. That skill and knack is something that few people have. I’ve seen their work day in and day out. It separates our business from everybody else. Our varieties have grown hundred fold, easily. You always find unique ways to design.

 

MVB: What sets Hilltop Florist apart?

Kathy: We do grow our own cut flowers — roses. We’re one of two growers in Minnesota. There’s only a few of us left in the United States. Our garden center is truly one of the best. We grow a lot from seed, cuttings and plugs. We’re one of the few that grow from very small to market. That gives us the advantage of quality. It’s what our forefathers were all about, what we’re still after today. The box stores offer different varieties. We offer uniqueness, exceptional quality, customer service. Each customer that comes in is very important — sort of that “Norm” feeling. We have talented designers. The dedication of all our employees, drivers, designers, growers, bookkeepers — it takes everybody to make Hilltop what it is today.

 

MVB: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Kathy: The most rewarding is to see my staff excel, become wonderful designers, watch their passion and abilities grow.

Larry: It is a heartfelt business from the earth: weddings, get well, funerals every aspect of life. The one delivery that stands out was for a wife’s birthday. Her husband was serving in Iraq. I brought a beautiful arrangement with balloons and little presents for their two children. It was as if he was present when I came to the door with the delivery.

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