By Llen King
In Neosho, on the historic downtown square, among other local businesses, sits The Florist and The Merchant, a home decor boutique. I sat down with the owner, Kathleen Moehr, close to the shop’s one year anniversary. We chatted about the business and her experience as an entrepreneur.
When I arrived, I took a while to wander around the shop. Moehr said, “One thing I’ve really stuck true to is having things in the shop that are meaningful to me, something that expresses who I am as a person.” Looking around, I could tell. The store, like its owner, is warm and welcoming and artfully curated. The Florist and The Merchant sell home goods, clothing, accessories and personal care products. It’s got something for just about anyone.
One thing that might not be immediately apparent at first glance is the number of items carried that are from other small or locally owned businesses.
They prominently feature art and handcrafted items from local artists. Moehr explains this is not a coincidence. “I want to support as many people and bring as many people along with me as I can on the journey of wherever this thing goes.”
The journey so far has not always been smooth. The store opened up on June 2nd of last year, “kind of right smack dab in the middle of the pandemic.” The original location for the first month or so they were open was a home for sale that Moehr had been hired to stage for a real estate agent. The store has moved a couple other times before settling at its current location on Spring street. Moehr described the experience of the first year as “a rollercoaster”. She also admitted that there have been times she was unsure of going forward.
“Sometimes I’m like, “Mmm, nope we’re done. I’m selling it all. We’re closing. I can’t do this.” She noted optimistically about the future. “We’re still here… we’re still doing okay, so that’s the good part. Business is going up.” She said what makes it worth it and her favorite part is “to know that the shop brings happiness to people and to hear it.”
Moehr didn’t always have aspirations of owning a retail business. She actually says “It didn’t call me, it just happened.” Her favorite art form is home decor and because of that she started staging homes with a friend and it took off from there.
After staging for a while Moehr became good friends with Shawna Norris, a broker for Venture Group in Neosho. “Shawna is an entrepreneur at heart, we started toying around with opening something super small.”
Moehr shared some advice she wished she had gotten starting out. “You will always need more money when you’re starting a new business. I don’t care what people tell you, you always need more money,” Moehr chuckled.
In regards to young women, Moehr shared, “I think that young women need to have the motivation from everyone to follow their dreams. I think too often there is this misconception that you can’t do it. You can’t do it because you don’t have these skill sets. And I do classify myself as a feminist, I believe more in the RBG equality version of that. So I think women can do it. I think young men can do it. I just think there’s been this suppression of girls that they can’t be entrepreneurs or that they don’t have a business mind. I think that it’s changing, the more women becoming business owners, the more encouraging it becomes for younger girls to see women succeeding and becoming and getting in higher roles. The Vice President is a woman, I think that’s fantastic.”
Moehr is also dedicated to making sure there are plenty of events going on in Neosho.
You can find Moehr also serving mimosas and pastries on Saturday mornings from 9-12 during the farmers market.
The Florist and The Merchant can be found online on Facebook, Instagram and tiktok @TheFlorist&TheMerchant or their website floristandmerchant.com
If you ever find yourself with a free afternoon in Neosho, stop in at The Florist & The Merchant. Tell them Julie Joplin sent you. Whether it’s a unique gift or something beautiful for your home, you’ll find something you love.