Bigger isn’t always better. Just ask the Landa family. A recent reevaluation of their business had the owners of Boulevard Flower Gardens, Mark and Francine Landa, yearning for the simplicity of yesteryear. The family-owned nursery, opened by Mark’s parents, George and Maybelle Landa in 1955, was a main attraction on The Boulevard in Colonial Heights for many years. Then in 2007, the couple decided to relocate to Ruffin Mill Road in Chesterfield and expand their business to accommodate the growing surge in the garden industry. With that expansion came a much larger property, including an impressive 33,000-square-foot facility, featuring open roof greenhouses, offices, a gift shop, a home décor/garden center and a café.
Along with the couple’s two daughters, Casey Landa and Madison Landa Williams, the family grew their business, hiring more employees, adding inventory, enlarging plant selection and increasing the number of greenhouses. Boulevard Flower Gardens was blooming! But with this expansion came growing pains. The family began to discover that retail trends were changing, and the business was becoming overgrown. Some pruning was in their future.
As the business diversified and grew, the couple realized the focus on their family’s heritage was becoming blurred. They agreed to take action and regroup. An offer from a neighboring car dealership helped to facilitate their plan. After discussing their new business strategy with their daughters and getting their blessing, Mark and Francine made the bold decision to sell a large portion of their property and reduce the garden center to a little over 6,000 square feet. They would turn the reins over to their daughters, allowing them to restructure Boulevard Flower Gardens and reclaim their family’s original dream – a local plant and flower store with personalized service. Although the gift shop, café and extraneous features needed to go, this was the best move for the business. “We will still be carrying garden supplies, flags and some VA products, but our main focus will be on plant material,” said Casey. “Investing less time and money on overhead will allow us to shift our attention and time on plants. After all, that’s what we do best!”
With big-box stores becoming passé, people are drawing more towards brick-and-mortar stores with a smaller footprint which offer more unique selections and expert advice. Current trends show consumers are interested in connecting with store owners, going green and having an authentic shopping experience. Gardeners want to raise their own flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables, especially organic and heirloom varieties. BFG is readjusting their focus to fulfill that demand by growing, nurturing and selling plants. “We want our destination to be more shopper friendly, homey and rustic,” Casey remarked. “Our quality is what separates us from the big-box stores. And our staff gets to know our customers by name.”
The revamped Boulevard Flower Gardens is open for business seven days a week with even more improvements on the horizon. They are returning to their roots. Maybelle and George would be proud. BFG is spring loaded and ready to go!