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Green Boutique Grows Up With Valrico

More than three decades of hard work transformed an Old Florida plant nursery into a modern home decor and gift shop.

The Green Boutique has grown and changed with Valrico in three decades.

And that’s the secret to the success of this family operation, says Roz Cimino-Creager, who runs the Green Boutique with husband, Mark, and son, Matt.

The home decor and gift shop may be a fixture to residents in the Valrico-Bloomingdale neighborhoods.

But the owners have stayed flexible while focused on their vision of a retail community in their hometown.

“We have listened to our customers over the years, and we have not been afraid to change," said Roz, taking a brief break in her workday at the shop in Bella Plaza, off Bloomingdale Avenue.

"The vision for any small business may be good at the time, but it may need to be tweaked over time – or you may need to go in another direction to be successful,” she noted.

That certainly was the case for the Green Boutique, which began as a plant nursery in 1979, when the shopping plaza did not exist.

The nursery was surrounded by open land and cow pastures. Roz and Mark's son, Matt, was just a year old when they started out.

Fast-forward 34 years. The Creagers changed their business model from an outdoor nursery in the withering Florida sun to a gift shop carrying top brands like Vera Bradley. It was the right decision for their customers, a growing base of professionals.

Today, Matt is a partner in the family business, helping his mother run the store, while Mark oversees the shopping plaza that the Creagers developed, as well as handling the bookkeeping.

“As a family business, we always keep in mind that we work as a team,” Roz explained. “We are not in opposition of each other. We support each other.”

Running a small business is a huge challenge as any Main Street merchant knows. Running a family business poses its own special challenges, as emotional relationships are involved. Petty disagreements at home may spill over into the business day, or vice versa.

Asked how the family manages conflict, Roz explained that "comunication is essential. Sometimes we may just agree to disagree.

“We all see each other every day. Owning a business runs through our lives as a family,” she said.

That takes a level of commitment that some might not be able to muster. But it was that team approach and a shared vision that enabled the Creagers to make several leaps in their business.

It not only ensured the success of the Green Boutqiue, but it also enabled the family to grow it.

In 2006, the family developed the land where they had run their nursery into a shopping plaza, Plaza Bella. In Florida, it is common for major development companies to run shopping centers. But the Creagers took on the challenge and succeeded, which is no small feat.

 “We knew we wanted an actual store, as we were operating in a small old house," Roz explained. "Out of necessity, we developed the property ourselves.”

All that good fortune came from hard work and planning. The Creagers are not absentee owners. Just the opposite.

Roz estimates that she works an average of 53 hours a week. “I meet a lot of wonderful people. We have a really great staff; they’re like family.

"Through our business, we've come to know our community. We're a part of the community."

Want to Learn More About the Green Boutique?

Check out the Patch business listing on the Green Boutique.

Scott King February 22, 2013 at 06:03 PM
great people! met them when they were holding an arts exhibition in the plaza a coupla' years back!
Dissatisfied Customer February 22, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Unfortunately, each time I have shopped there, the staff was quite rude and made it seem I was an inconvenience to them when I asked for assistance. I stopped shopping there after the 3rd time.
sue allen February 22, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I have been a customer since 1984 when I bought plants for my new home. I am happy that they are thriving.
Kathy Lane February 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM
I have NEVER been treated rudely there--ever and have been shopiping with them since they were in the lovely little house before the plaza! I have always found the ladies to be fun and helpful as well as the merchandise to be interesting and unique! Whenever I give a gift from the Green Boutique, I know the recipient will be THRILLED!! There is just something about that green and pink bag that lets the person know something WONDERFUL is coming! Congrats to The Green Boutique and all of it's lovely ladies (and Matt) who work there!

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