The family roots run deep at Rosebud Flower Shop – not just for the florist business, but for its location, at the corner of East 10th and Reed streets on the City of Erie’s east side.
Ruth Thompson’s family has been located at that corner for generations. Her father, the late Erie City Councilman Jim Thompson, started the flower shop nearly 60 years ago, eventually moving it into the East 10th Street location that had previously been home to other family businesses.
Today, Ruth, who also runs the ANNA Shelter and a property management company, is gradually passing the flower shop business on to her daughter, Rosealena Thompson.
Rosealena has been part of the business since she helped out as a child.
Back then, she came up with her own flower arrangements that her mom displayed in the shop – though they were, as Ruth laughingly describes now, “hideous.”
Today, however, Rosealena’s arrangements are colorful and creative – and are boosting business.
She’s also been marketing the business on social media, and making connections in the community.
“Maybe she’s found her niche,” Ruth says of her daughter.
For Ruth, it’s a comfort to see her daughter embrace the business that has been in the family for more than 50 years – in a building that was built by the family in the 1800s.
“Just the idea of someone else having this – the idea of closing it was so hard,” Ruth says.
About Rosebud Flower Shop: The family had previously owned other businesses, including a general store and a hardware shop, at the East 10th Street building. Though the flower shop used to get walk-in traffic, especially in the heyday of GE and Hammermill, today the majority of sales are made online. Other family members join Ruth and Rosealena at the shop, including Ruth’s mother, JoAn, and several siblings. “People say they have a family business. This, literally, is our family’s business,” Ruth says.
Why Erie County: The family’s roots are, of course, vital to why Ruth Thompson remains anchored in Erie – and, more specifically, remains committed to the city’s lower east side. “I can’t imagine leaving this corner,” she says. “I’ve had several opportunities. But this place is our roots.” She also sees continued support from Erie residents in supporting small businesses. “Flowers are a luxury. Same with eating out. People say how horrible the economy is, but people are still buying flowers, and people are still going out to eat,” she says.
Challenges of Erie County: Ruth Thompson’s biggest challenges should be familiar to any small-business owner – trying to juggle all the work that needs to be done. Trying to do the jobs of several people – a necessity for a small business – means that some aspects of the business inevitably get the short shrift.
Coming next week: We check out the operations at Curtze Food Service, also in the City of Erie