100-Year FTD Member Celebration: Busch’s Florist, Jefferson City, MO

The 3 C’s to Success

Consistency. Commitment. Customer service. These three C’s are the guiding principles that have helped to ensure the continued success of Busch’s Florist, a 130-year-old business.

Each day, they make sure that every connection they have with customers goes above and beyond. Whether by phone or in person, they strive to connect and build relationships with every interaction. Commitment is key as well, as each staff member takes pride in everything they do and make.

We recently connected with Leana Ortmeyer, general manager at Busch’s Florist, to learn a little more about the shop’s history and the driving forces behind their longtime success:


Can you tell us a little bit about the history of your shop?
LO: Hugo Busch was born in Germany. He loved flowers and by age 15 was an expert in cultivation. After coming to America, he worked for several years in St. Louis and Kansas City in floral development. In 1890, he bought Nagel Florists, nestled in the Old Munichburg German District in the heart of Jefferson City. By 1938, Hugo and his wife Lena owned and operated one of the largest establishments of its kind in the central Missouri area with eight greenhouses and 16 acres of ground devoted to cultivating flowers and plants. In 1941, Hugo’s son, Art, and his wife, Leota, took over ownership of the family business.

Current Owner Reid Millard

While Art was off to war, Leota worked in the flower shop and continued to build the business. Her husband joined her at the shop two years later when he came home, and together they owned and operated Busch’s Florist for 50 plus years. They built a business on exceptional work, amazing customer service and a unique ability to create relationships with their community. In 1996, Reid Millard purchased Busch’s Florist. The shop changed hands a few times and is currently owned again by Reid.


How do you market to your customers and attract new ones?
LO: Our customers are mainly from the Jefferson City and Columbia communities, as well as all the small towns surrounding both. We market to our customers through word of mouth, community involvement, social media, and various advertisements and sponsorships. We use social media (Facebook, Instagram and soon, Pinterest) as our main forums. In addition, we have multiple open houses throughout the year and Santa comes a few times in December.

What is the largest revenue stream for your shop?
LO: Fresh flowers and plants are the core of our business. But gifts also do well, they really make the shop beautiful, and we are able to mesh the gifts in with the fresh flowers.

How are you getting through the pandemic?
LO: We are getting through the pandemic one day at a time. We have been able to remain steady in everyday business, however our event and wedding business has dropped significantly. We look forward to eventually getting this part of our business back up to its fullest potential.

What business practices did you carry over? What are you doing differently?
LO: We’ve continued the practices of good customer service and taking pride in our work–the cornerstone to our success. Building relationships has never been more important than it is today, as technology often replaces the in-person interaction. It is convenient for the consumer, yet creates a barrier for the business owner. It’s crucial to develop new ways to connect with the customer and provide that same traditional customer service. With every online and phone transaction, we want them to be comfortable and happy from start to finish.

What is your personal philosophy?
LO: My philosophy is that we are on this earth for a short time. In the time we are here, it is our job to make an impact. Sometimes it’s the little things that have the greatest influence. I feel that every day, our actions create a ripple effect. I remember this in everything I do personally and professionally. Reid often says “Every day is a gift.”  So each morning I ask myself, “What are you going to do with your gift of today; how are you going to make an impression?”

What are you doing to stay relevant to today’s consumers?
LO: Even though we are in a historic city and traditional styles are important, it’s essential to stay on top of trends. With today’s technology we are able to do this faster and easier than before. We also speak heavily to our customers through social media and have started to do live feeds from our shop.

What is one of the most exciting things your shop has done?
LO: Five years ago we celebrated 125 years in business. For the July 4th parade, we had a huge float on which we built a wooden, 3-tier cake covered in thousands of flowers and adorned with large candles. The owners at that time stood on the top of the cake, waved to the community and tossed flower blooms to the bystanders. It truly was gorgeous and tons of fun. It took the entire staff to glue thousands of flowers to the cake.

What are your goals for your shop for the year ahead?
LO: We are always striving to build our business. You can become successful, but the real trick is staying that way—that is where the really hard work comes in. The business needs to remain consistent with consumer expectations and push for continued growth.

Follow Busch’s Florist