Good Morning! I am excited that today is the day I will roll out the first of my ‘home area’ business features. If you were on Facebook yesterday you saw my sneak peek picture and saw that I was at Café Sign in Lenox. I also went to their shop in Bedford that day so I will be featuring both shops today.
I contacted Becky back in December and she was thrilled to join in on this and be my first feature! Below is the interview with Becky and a pictorial of both shops. I hope I captured what they have to offer. But more importantly the feel and experience you will receive when visiting these shops.
A lot has been happening in 1 year.
Did you know that January is their 1 year anniversary of purchase? What better way to celebrate than to be celebrated! Becky and Mike Smith along with Becky’s mom Betty Marxen purchased both shops on January 2nd, 2019. Now, 2 businesses at once seems like a big undertaking and not a usual thing. So I asked her how that exactly came about. She had this to say;
“It was somewhat a spontaneous decision yet looking back it really has been in the works for years. My husband, Mike, started this rolling in his garage printing t-shirts and signs for friends. Mike has always wanted to own a business so 4 years ago when ‘My Sister’s Place’ in Lenox came up for sale we met with the owners and started a business plan but for whatever reason things just didn't work out. We continued to work on a business plan and other aspects such as the website. My aunt had a website ‘Cafe Sign’ that she no longer used and seemed like a fit for Our t-shirt and sign business so we purchased the domain from her. Jump forward to October 2018 and after several rough days at work I happened to be on a real estate site and noticed that ‘The Bedford Flower Shop’ was for sale and found out that there was still interest in selling ‘My Sisters Place’ so I came home and announced I wanted to quit my job and pulled out the plan we had been working on and headed to SBDC to meet with Ethan Pitt and now the rest is history…lol”
She mentions that it was a bit spontaneous, but when asked why she wanted to buy these shops her explanation made it sound like it was meant to be. Becky and her mom had been in the healthcare field for 28 and 21 years so they are very accustomed to helping people. The whole family in a way contributed to the decision according to Becky’s next story.
“I grew up on a farm, my dad taught me the basics on work ethic and how to get things done, Mom is an amazing business woman, my grandpa had us all around his passion of hybridized daylilies and my aunt owns American Country in Ames”
I loving tribute also comes into this story.
Becky lost her dad (and Betty her husband) and grandpa in February of 2018. She mentioned how the flower/gift shop seemed like a small tribute to their years of farming and hybridizing.
Small Town Ownership
Owning a business in a rural area is not for the faint of heart. But, of course, we all know shopping and staying local with our support will help that
“It feels like I’ve gained a huge family.”
She went on to add that knowing so many of the people really gives them a meaning for what they are doing. They really love that the customers who come into their shops do so to support them and the communities they live in.
So, this whole project I am doing is about letting everyone know what we have and how great our area of Southwest Iowa is. So, a big question I want to ask each owner is what makes your shops special? What makes Café Sign better than anything online or some city chain store? The experience and feeling of family for one thing! Becky and her family feel that it adds meaning to what they are doing.
“We have spent the greater portion of this past year on remodel/branding of our shops and hope that we can really hone into the feel we want which is to be a cozy spot to meet up with family and friends, a place you can count on to meet your gift needs, and a part of community that will help bring others into our town. We continually watch pricing and work hard to provide items you would typically go to amazon for at the same or lower prices so you can have immediately.”
Café Sign in Lenox and Bedford has a variety of items for your shopping experience.
They can handle all your floral needs. From weddings and funerals, to holidays and just everyday flowers for that special someone.
The gifts are numerous as you can see in many of my pictures. So much to choose from! Becky said her goals in the next 1-3 years is to create and focus on building the feel they want to create at “Café Sign”. They are trying to bring in more Iowa based vendors. How exciting!
“We are working hard to work with specific vendors in Iowa. Our coffee beans are roasted in Iowa we are working on bringing Iowa made candles and chocolates to our stores.”
Speaking of coffee…I had a lovely latte with buttered toffee flavoring when I was there. My honest opinion I swear – Just as good if not better than that fancy coffee shop with the white and green logo. Cross my heart!! They also have few items to order for lunch. Here’s what Becky had to say about the plans for the café part of the shop.
“Our cafe goals are to keep it simple and feel that we have found a few specific (panini) sandwiches, salads and coffee selections that will be standard now we plan to add some sweets like chocolates and desserts.”
What’s up right now?
Right now, Becky and crew are getting ready to bring in all of your Valentines needs. The shops will be busting with gifts and flowers to help show your love to friends and family.
Also, prom is coming up guys and gals! Both shops do numerous corsages and boutonnieres each year and both can order Tuxes. They typically will start doing tux fitting right after Valentines day. Check out the new Skeffingtons catalog pages she got while I was there. I love the print jackets and OH the purple velour… LOVE that!
If you haven’t visited these shops yet, you should. You won’t be disappointed! Becky and crew are there to help with your floral, gift and café needs!