Creating joy - one arrangement at a time

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealMeaghan Schmidt works on an arrangement at Alie's Flowers and Gifts in Carson City on Wednesday afternoon.

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealMeaghan Schmidt works on an arrangement at Alie's Flowers and Gifts in Carson City on Wednesday afternoon.

When Cathy Greene graduated from college, she headed for career in corporate sales.

The job meant a lot of traveling, but after a couple of years on the road Greene's career took an unexpected turn: She went into the florist business after joining her sister-in-law, Jana Greene, the owner of Alie's Flowers and Gifts, to help with marketing and business.

"I've been here six years," Greene said. "The whole point was for me to eventually buy the business from her. Learn the business first, then take away the crutches and go for it."

In January 2010, Greene became the owner of the long-time Carson City floral shop when her sister-in-law sold the shop she had owned since 1981.

"I've always been creative; I used to do floral arrangements for my mother-in-law when we used to take care of her in our house," Greene said. "But I never thought I'd own and run a flower shop; but I'm glad I do."

During the past year, Greene said she's learned there is more to running a flower shop than arranging flowers. There are surprises, too, like a delivery truck breaking down or the cooler requiring service.

"It's really learning," she said. "You think it's so much fun to do flowers all day, but really you have to do flowers all day and at night you have to do the books and do the banking and pay your employees and pay your rent. It's been challenging, but it's a good challenge."

The business originally opened in the 1970s near the Walton's Funeral Home in Carson City and later moved to a location on Roop Street near the former post office. It has been inside the Carson Mall since 2005.

Greene said business is doing well and things are picking up with Easter, Administrative Professionals Week and Mother's Day around the corner.

"So it's like bam, bam, bam this year," she said. "Mother's Day is one of our bigger holidays."

Then it's the summer wedding season, Greene said.

Greene has two floral designers - mother and daughter Holly McHugh and Meaghan Schmidt - who spend their days arranging flowers. They also make homemade candles that are shaped like cupcakes, which they sell at the store.

Aside from floral arrangements they offer cookie baskets, candy and other arts and gifts made by local artists and merchants. Greene's grandmother makes jewelry, too.

"Handmade stuff you won't find anywhere else," Greene said. "We really try to emphasize local, small business."

She said she hopes to eventually expand and open shops in Reno or Lake Tahoe.

And as trends come and go in the floral business, Greene said it's important to not only stay on top of floral trends from wedding magazines and websites, but to also make sure the customer is happy.

"You just have to be really flexible," she said. "Listen to your customers. Listen to what they want and then go from there."


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