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Janet Dickens-Tyson of Jerry’s Flowers & Gifts in Leesburg, Virginia

Long hours and a passion for quality are the hallmarks of the successful small business owner. Pictured here is my mom, Janet Dickens-Tyson, owner of Jerry’s Flowers & Gifts, as she creates a custom floral arrangement.

This guest post was written by Gary E. Dickens, the son of Janet Dickens-Tyson, the marketer for Jerry’s Flowers & Gifts, and the publisher of Leesburg Magazine. Gary notes that Network Solutions has been a vital part of the marketing efforts for Jerry’s Flowers & Gifts by providing critical website and online store hosting.

There’s something about the human spirit that demands we build things, that we invent and create. The fear of failure is greatly overshadowed by the desire “to do.” In America, we not only want to build and create, but our free market system allows us to trade our efforts with others, to make a profit and earn a living.

Thus, for more than 400 years, America has been the land of the entrepreneur.

Names like Bell, Franklin, Jobs, and Ford were foundational to the nation’s vernacular, for the wealth and prosperity they created. But while these names are household familiar, America was built on labors of the more obscure: the Houghs, Wongs, and Harmons, to name a few of the millions. That America succeeds from the sweat and ingenuity of the small business owner is no urban myth.

A prime example is Janet Dickens-Tyson of Jerry’s Flowers & Gifts in Leesburg, Virginia. Janet is no stranger to the world of the small business person, its demand for long hours and the utmost in customer service. She started her first business at home in the 1970s. Working in her hair salon, she could be there for her brood of three and provide them with breakfasts and cookies during the ebb and flow of the school day.

As the children moved on, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to open “Colonial Creations,” a specialty shop in Leesburg’s Market Station, selling furniture and home décor. The recession led to the closure of this business in the early ’90s . . . and a time-out for about 10 years.

Janet couldn’t stay away from the life of the store owner, though, finding a way to turn her love of flowers into a ringing of the cash register. In 2001, she bought one of Leesburg’s legacy businesses, then called “Jerry’s Florist.” There, she’s spent the past 10 years imparting her vision of great floral design through her cadre of talented designers and support staff.

When it comes to talking about her success, Janet would be shy about advising those who are thinking about hanging out their own shingle that they need to be over-the-top passionate about their craft. And she’ll be really shy about revealing the number of hours she spends at the store each week.

But mark her plain-spoken, customer-first words, as she demands that only the highest quality work leaves the store. The formula for her success is quite simple: Great Product + Great Service + Fair Price = Customers, who return again and again.

Old-fashioned ethics haven’t precluded Janet’s move into new technologies, though. She foresaw the demise of Yellow Pages advertising earlier than most, directing the creation of a custom website for Jerry’s and insisting that it have high Google rankings. When the effectiveness of newspaper and magazine display ads seemed to fade, she thought that marketing money would be better spent on emerging social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook. At the onset of the Great Recession, she insisted on launching her own custom online store, so that Jerry’s customers could be served at any time and at any place in the world.

Janet has successfully combined her hometown, hardworking business sense with the tools of the 21st century. She remains nimble in an ever-changing marketplace, where Internet accessibility continues to replace brick-and-mortar and pixels continue to replace paper. Even at this writing, Janet is radically adjusting her marketing and sales plan to incorporate more technology, ever adapting to changes in her industry.

Astuteness and fearlessness developed during more than 40 years as a small business owner—traits that any small business owner should desire.

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    • Candice Blueski

      This is a great article. Janet certainly did the right thing by keeping up with the times and staying ahead of the curve.