The fresh smell is one of the first noticeable things when walking into Steve’s Floral.
The presence of owner Jan Miller in her apron is also a constant there.
She’s there when the store opens at 8 a.m. and when it closes.
“I love my store, love my customers and love my staff,” Jan said.
Jan said the shop is a passion in her life.
“Receiving a fresh flower bouquet is one of the most delightful things that can happen,” she said. “When it’s unexpected, it just is one of the best things that will ever happen to you.”
The store’s name is in honor of her brother, Steve Miller, the original owner who started the shop in Marysville in 1983.
Jan provided design work but was more business oriented in her involvement since she took business courses at both Cloud County Community College and Kansas State University.
The store expanded to Manhattan in 1987, coinciding with the opening of the mall.
“We could see the growth and changes happening here,” Jan said. “We were ready for a bigger community.”
Jan said they knew the shop could offer a niche that Manhattan needed but still went through growing pains associated with being “the new kid on the block.”
She said it became important to gain the community’s trust.
“You really have to earn your colors in a sense,” Jan said. “You have to go the extra mile to get yourself known.”
Jan became the shop’s owner in 1990, starting her “remarkable journey.”
While running the shop involves long hours, she said she likes getting involved in the community when she can as a member of the Konza Rotary Club, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and St. Isidore’s Catholic Church.
Jan said it’s been a pleasure to help the community through the store.
“I bet you there isn’t anything we haven’t contributed to in the community,” she said. “As a small business, you’re asked constantly to participate in supporting so many different things.”
Before dealing with flowers, Jan was raised in a place that grew corn, wheat and beans.
Jan grew up on a farm in Frankfort, the second of five children.
“I’m very proud to be from a farmer background,” she said.
Jan said her parents had a partnership in the farm’s operations, which also included livestock.
“My mom was a business woman,” she said. “The smartest woman I’ve ever known still. She understood business.”
Jan said her parents were instrumental to Steve’s Floral whether helping with deliveries or providing holiday work.
“You really lean on family,” she said.
“Family is a big deal when it comes to small business in my personal experience.”
Jan said the staff is also like a family with employees who have been there for decades.
“Our customers get to know us, and we get to know them,” Jan said.
Downtown Manhattan has changed over the years, but Steve’s Floral has been at its same downtown location at 302 Poyntz Ave. since it opened in 1987.
Jan said it’s a wonderful feeling to still be here.
“I try not to take any single day for granted,” she said. “It’s a true blessing to be in this community.”