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Flower Power

A nearly overlooked opportunity is blooming into an ideal business.

This story appears in the July 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Usually, finding a franchise that perfectly suits your personality is a rare opportunity. Luckily for Kim Lohnes, opportunity didn't just knock once-it leaned on the doorbell.

When Lohnes, 33, was laid off from her technology job in 2002, she knew working for herself was the only way she could avoid being put in that situation again. With no particular industry in mind, she began exploring franchise opportunities in the greater area. At the beginning of her hunt, a friend suggested she look into floral franchise KaBloom Ltd., but Lohnes didn't feel she was a " person." Six months later, another person suggested KaBloom, but Lohnes dismissed it again. Finally, after a year of searching on her own, Lohnes met with a franchise broker who gave her a personality and skills-assessment test. The outgoing Lohnes wanted to start a that allowed her to interact with the community, work in a environment, and sell a well-received product. So what was her number-one match? KaBloom. The coincidence was too much for Lohnes to ignore-she finally opened the door.

Although Lohnes didn't have any experience in the floral industry, she knew she had the business background to make it happen. She placed want ads for floral-arrangement designers in the local newspapers and bought her Newton Highlands store in June 2003.

Now that she's surrounded by flowers, Lohnes is caught in a whirlwind of activity seven days a week. Between designing bouquets, price with vendors and planning for the next holiday, she barely has time to stop and smell the roses. "It's a lot more work than I ever thought," Lohnes says. "Retail is a scary beast sometimes." The have been worth it though: She projects sales of more than $400,000 this year.

For Lohnes, it seems trading in her pink slip for pink tulips was the right choice after all.

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