Montrose’s beloved flower shop to grow and expand with son in charge – the next generation of a floral family
THomas McCool never imagined he would end up in the florist business even though his father, Scott McCool, was the founder of one of Houston’s foremost floral design houses, In Bloom Inc. Younger McCool had studied economics and philosophy at university. He shoots in competition. And until a recent injury, he was passionate about Brazilian jiu jitsu.
The art of flower arrangement? He didn’t calculate.
Of course, he grew up in the boutique at 918 Fairview in the heart of Montrose and spent his vacations and summers there DIYing, moving buckets, packing boxes, delivering flowers. But it wasn’t until an epiphany six years ago that his interests shifted to what he actually calls “a flower shop.”
“I never thought I would be here,” he said PaperCity. “But I learned to weld with dad. I learned to make furniture with dad. And then one day I ended up doing an arrangement and it was like ‘Oh that’s kind of the same’ and I was trying to do it in a more macho way. . . I kind of fell in love with it.
From that day forward, Scott slowly began to hand over responsibility to Thomas, who took over the reins of In Bloom two years ago. The 31-year-old honors In Bloom’s three decades of exceptional floral tradition while giving the company a smooth update. He likes to call it In Bloom Inc. 2.0.
One recent afternoon he took us on a tour of the unassuming “flower shop” which from the sidewalk looks like a quaint operation but is in reality a business that takes up almost half a block. Thomas explains that he doesn’t change the roots of the business, but just builds on what is already done so well. Part of this growth is the hope of converting the 5,000 square foot warehouse that supports the store and courtyard gardens into event space. Think of a rustic warehouse, a blank canvas that can be made into something as elaborate or as simple as you want.
River Oaks District
His hope is to have the annual store party there in October and have the warehouse ready for rent by early 2022.
“I appreciate what he has done before. It’s like the most important thing, the importance of what the store has been, ”Thomas says of his father. “I don’t want to lose touch with this. Having respect for what my dad did, what he did has always been the most important thing to me. But I still have the confidence to step outside those limits – slightly. “
The personal touch
Like his father, Thomas is an outgoing, outgoing and helpful person who develops and maintains relationships, many of whom are second and even third generation River Oaks customers. He keeps a computer list of birthdays and anniversaries in order to remind forgetful husbands and beautiful ones. Friends regularly come to savor the warmth of the workshop filled with fragrant flowers. These friendships not only encourage business, but also provide a solid platform for floral design.
Customers are so comfortable with In Bloom that they make a pilgrimage on Mondays and Wednesdays when they know flower deliveries are coming. They often select their favorite flowers from the boutique’s four coolers and leave it to the creative assembly of In Bloom’s staff, each of whom has been a part of the team for many years. Thomas suggests that customers select their three favorite flowers and leave the rest to the designers.
“You build relationships, develop trust. It’s my job to know what it is and to listen to you enough to understand what you want, but you don’t necessarily have the vocabulary to describe it perfectly, ”he explains. “So I have to interpret it and use my knowledge to deliver it to you. It’s a very symbiotic relationship.
It involves knowing the house as well as the client. Thomas says the house style, architecture, and scale required for a certain location work as design determinants. “Location, location, location,” he muses.
Thomas’ advice goes beyond simple floral design. Following a friend’s recent marriage, he offered the groom some valuable advice.
“The little things matter a lot more. You can go in and take a few things, ”he advises. “Valentine’s Day will always be too expensive. Do something other than flowers. But don’t forget to make big flowers every now and then. You have to do things consistently. That’s how it pays.
Love the challenge
Solving problems, dealing with chaos, thinking outside the box – we don’t usually associate these challenges with the florist industry, but these are realities that McCools and other flower ships face on a regular basis.
“I grew up in chaos, especially with the events,” Thomas says. “Our product dies every week. Something might not make a truck. The bride must have it. It is the pure happiness of chaos and I thrive there. I love it. If my back is against the wall, I’m super happy. Because all you can do is work, all you can do is understand something, there is no time for anything else.
Thomas says he appreciates the medium: flowers. But his real joy lies in the creativity needed to solve problems. And he doesn’t fly solo on challenges.
Speaking of his dad, Thomas says, “That you can count on him, that he can solve problems outside the box, that he has this great history of responding, that gives you confidence.”