Small Business RevolutionBlog

Behind the Scenes

February 8, 2019

Lifelong Passion at A Touch of Love

Written by Cameron Potts

Entrepreneurs start at any age. Maybe it was the lemonade stand or the old-fashioned paper route. Other times it was selling something online or in some cases, burgeoning a tech start up from your dorm room.

So we shouldn’t be surprised anymore when we meet a young small business owner who has drive and determination despite their youth. Sometimes, it just takes a mentor to help you along, someone who has already been through what you are about to embark on.

A Touch of Love flower shop and gift store in Canon City, Colorado was established by then 21-year-old Katie Martie some 37 years ago. When she was 17, she was hired by a local florist and she loved the job She worked two jobs when she was 17 but she loved working at the flower shop. When the chance to become the manager became available, she jumped at it, eventually starting A Touch of Love.

“I always liked the excitement of the job, of always being busy. There is always so much to do and the seasonality makes it even more of a challenge. You are always there when people are happy, celebrating a big event, and sometimes, celebrating something sad. But you are helping with milestones in their lives,” Martie said. “You just want to make a difference.”

As a business owner, she saw something in Shae Sandritter, her current manager. When Sandritter was 15, she was hired to help clean the shop, eventually working her way up. Now at 21, she is the store’s manager and within the next year, will purchase the business from Martie who is ready to retire.

“She came in one day to purchase some flowers for a dance and I just remembered her. It was about a year later when I found her number and called to see if she wanted a job here. She is very driven,” Martie said.

“I didn’t even want to go to that dance, but I came in anyway,” Sandritter said.

Sandritter found she has a flair for design, which has served her well as manager of the store. She is organized and passionate about helping customers, a natural in the retail business. Which is a far cry from what she was planning to do.

“I was going to school to become a police officer, but working here, we are always on the go and I just want to succeed at this,” she said.

A Touch of Love is filled with gifts of all sorts, and they even make their own fudge on the premises. Their flower business is booming, but they are always trying to find an edge. A little off the beaten path in Canon City, they don’t get the same traffic as businesses on Main Street, so Martie and Sandritter are always seeking new ways to bring in customers.

Sandritter keeps a notepad of questions, ones she pulled out when our Small Business Revolution team was in town visiting Canon City. She explained that there are so many marketing and business questions she would like answered, but sometimes she doesn’t know where to start.

Though she started young, Martie was determined to make her business a success. For 37 years, she built a successful business that she is now prepared to sell to a handpicked successor. Her youth didn’t prevent her from succeeding when she started and likely, in fact, she wanted to prove herself even more. Sandritter has that same desire. You can tell when you meet her and talk to her. Her intensity comes through from the start, and her desire to succeed is evident.

It isn’t rare that entrepreneurs start young. Yet finding two female business owners with such similar backgrounds and stories come together is rare. Their collective knowledge and love of A Touch of Love have helped it thrive. Martie built the business and established a very stable base for Sandritter, who with new ideas will attempt to take it to another level.

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