“People are probably thinking, ‘Here she goes again’,” Brenda McGinness, owner of Brenda’s Bloomers and Gifts and The Salad Bowl of Hillsboro said recently.
And she is going again.
Known for her ability to take a common business and find ways to diversify it, the seasoned entrepreneur has expanded her gift and flower shop to include a sit-down restaurant.
McGinness has been a business owner for more than 20 years, starting with businesses in Marion. She had a successful gift and flower shop in Marion and decided to expand the gift shop to downtown Hillsboro in 2006.
Eventually, the Marion shop closed, which gave McGinness time to focus on the Hillsboro business.
When she saw a need to include a floral business in her Hillsboro gift shop, she did.
So, why did she add salads, soups, and sandwiches this summer to her shop of home furnishings and fresh flowers and plants?
“I did it to attract another customer base,” McGinness said.
As people tighten their purse strings and money clips, they tend to slow down and even stop purchasing unnecessary items such as home décor and flowers.
“I had to do something to keep the doors open,” McGinness said. “If I wouldn’t have done this, I don’t know if I would be open now.”
When she added a diner, she also added two more employees — another anomaly of small businesses in today’s tight economy.
The menu offers healthy choices of fresh salads and soups, a salad bar, and sandwiches.
Hard-packed ice cream and ice cream treats are also available.
Seating is around the shop — among the wall hangings, knick-knacks, and chimes — with enough room for more than 50 patrons.
Being located downtown is ideal for McGinness in all aspects of her business. Shoppers gravitate toward business districts, such as the downtown area, and workers frequent the business for a lunch on the run or for a gift for an occasion.
Large groups are finding the Salad Bowl to be a good place for a meal and meeting. McGinness also is taking reservations for Christmas parties and dinners, where a special menu can be prepared.
So, what’s the reward for working for yourself?
The profit margin typically is slim, workdays are long, and the pace is tiring.
“I love what I do,” McGinness said. “I can be creative and make people happy.
“There’s something about owning your own business and being able to do whatever you want that makes this attractive and so much fun.
“Making somebody’s day makes me happy.”