U of A Small Business Development Center Plays Key Role in Iconic NWA Business Purchase

Northwest Arkansas Florist is a flower shop in Fayetteville, Arkansas, that does work for people in the area. People in the area know the shop from its large fiberglass horse that stands on the front lawn. It opened in 1978. Local non-profits paint it often, and it’s become an icon of the area and a big part of the business’s brand. The company has grown over the past 45 years to become the best in the area at selling flowers and gifts for all occasions.

Andrew and Megan Hudgens, the new owners, were born and raised in Northwest Arkansas. Andrew used to work full-time as a patrol sergeant for the police, and he still does part-time work for a local police department. He has a lot of different certifications and has worked as a criminal investigator and on the drug task force in the area. Megan got her Bachelor of Science in agricultural, food, and life sciences and her Master of Science in agricultural economics from the University of Alberta. She just finished the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fayetteville Class XXXVI and has been a banker for 17 years.

The two people plan to use their different but complementary skills to help this business grow even more. They contacted the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at the U of A, and business consultant Lori Lieblong helped them make a business plan and detailed financial projections before they bought the company.

“As a commercial lender, I’ve been sending prospective and current business owners to the ASBTDC for years, as I know what a valuable resource it is, but never have I been on this side of the table,” said Megan. “I can say with absolute certainty Lori made this process so much cleaner, easier, and straightforward for us with her hands-on approach.” Lieblong also helped the new owners come up with a marketing plan and a strategy.

“She really opened our eyes to things we hadn’t considered or thought about already, and even after our closing has taken place, is providing us with much-needed guidance on marketing and tools to grow our new business,” they stated. “In short, we are so grateful for Lori and the ASBTDC for the work you put in every day helping people like us realize dreams.”

The University of Arkansas’s Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center helps Northwest Arkansas small businesses do well. ASBTDC consultants help entrepreneurs get the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. They offer one-on-one, confidential consulting at no cost to the client, as well as workshops and training that can be done in person or online.

The ASBTDC at the U of A gets some of its money from a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. It works with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is part of the Division of Economic Development at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

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