Starting from humble origins as a vegetable stand, Bo Bo’s Nursery & Florist in Buffalo, Texas, has evolved over the years into a fully fledged garden center owned and operated by a tight-knit family. The retailer recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and we spoke with florist Amy Williams and her aunts, owner Ginger Vybiral and manager Cheryl Gantt, about the past accomplishments and future ambitions of the family business.
Garden Center: Can you tell me about when Bo Bo’s Nursery & Florist first opened?
Ginger Vybiral: Our father and mother (Ray and Anna Melasky) started the business in 1967 as a vegetable stand and soon followed with a nursery. The nursery business grew and the greenhouses started multiplying! All three of us kids worked along with our parents: Cheryl in the retail area and waiting on customers; I was in the greenhouse growing the plants; and [my brother] Joey worked with the trees and shrubs. But we all worked together in unity to make the business strong. In 1981, our dad died and left the business to our mom and us. We continued together in business, got married and had children of our own and some of them now work along side us.
GC: Currently, how large is your store?
GV: 10 acres in the greenhouse area.
GC: How many employees work at Bo Bo’s?
GV: Four full-time employees and four part-time employees.
GC: Which family members are currently involved in the day-to-day?
Amy Williams: Ginger, Cheryl, myself, [my husband] Jeremy and [my sister] Carrie.
GC: What would you say are the specialties at Bo Bos?
Cheryl Gantt: We specialize in dish gardens and bedding plants. We also grow a large crop of geraniums, mums and poinsettias every year. We believe what sets us apart is that we are family owned and operated for 50 years, and we take pride in our quality and customer service. Our customers are not just customers to us, but they are family and friends.
GC: I understand you had your 50th anniversary celebration this past fall. How did it go? What did the celebration involve?
CG: Our 50th year anniversary went wonderfully. We served free lunch to everyone all four weekends in October. We held drawings every weekend and gave away lots of merchandise, as well as our 50th anniversary t-shirts and coffee mugs. We also enjoyed exchanging stories of the past and how things have changed through the years.
GC: How do you think the business has changed over the years? What has the Bo Bo’s team learned over the decades?
GV: Over the years, we have tried to modernize the plant growing operation. We have learned to make better profit margins all around. And we’ve learned to have good customer service and products at a great price. We encourage our customers to grow with us.
GC: Tell me about the experience of operating the business as a family. How do you split up responsibilities and keep things running smoothly?
AW: It hasn’t always been easy but no matter what, at the end of the day, we will always be family and we love each other. Each one of us have our own responsibilities, but it’s about getting the job done, not pointing fingers. All of us are willing to step in and help one another if needed.
GC: What are the goals and aspirations for the next 50 years of Bo Bo’s Nursery & Florist?
AW: To keep expanding the business and doing our best to faithfully serve our customers.
This conversation was edited for length and clarity.