Catonsville Patch: How long have you been in business in Catonsville?
Tom Medicus: Hilton Flower Shop has been in Catonsville since about 1955, but my grandparents started the business in the city on Hilton Street during the depression.
Patch: Why did they choose Catonsville?
Medicus: I don’t really know. I was just a pup then. I guess they wanted to move out of the city.
Patch: What do you like about being in Catonsville?
Medicus: I love Catonsville. The people are great; it’s close to the city. You can be down in Patapsco State Park real quick. There’s a small town atmosphere. I live in Dunmore, so I can walk to work on some days faster than I can drive.
Patch: How did you decide to combine tax preparation with flowers?
Medicus: The tax service is my sister’s business. Suzanne Medicus, she’s the smart one in the family; she’s a CPA, and she owns several Liberty Tax Preparation businesses. We have extra space here, so that works out well for both of us. Now she has me working at it too, and since my daughter’s getting married in October, it helps me pay for the wedding!
Patch: What’s a typical day like?
Medicus: I start at about 6:30 every day, talking to wholesalers to get fresh flowers into the shop. I try to stay a day ahead in the arrangements, so every morning, we plan who’s going to do what for the rest of the day. We are able to do that now when we’re not too busy, but at other times, it’s harder to stay ahead.
Patch: What are your busiest times of year?
Medicus: The whole month of December, then the holidays: Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, and then the wedding seasons: May/June and September/October.
Patch: Do you have a signature service or specialty thing you do?
Medicus: We tend to have sort of a country look, mainly, but we pride ourselves in doing exactly what the customer wants. We don’t make judgments about our customers’ sense of style.
Patch: What’s one of the hardest things about your work?
Medicus: Funeral work. Having to deal with bereaved families, especially if it’s a sudden death, it just tears your heart out. A lot of our customers are like friends, so it touches us very deeply.
Patch: What are you proud of?
Medicus: I pride myself on giving my customers the best value for the price. I’m aware how the economy has affected a lot of people, and I try to do what I can. I know flowers are a luxury. You can’t eat them, you can’t drive them, you can’t wear them, so I try to give the best service and quality I can for the price.
Patch: What’s your favorite thing about your work?
Medicus: I like doing wedding work, things for new babies, happy things, anniversaries, birthdays.
Patch: Do you have any specials or loyalty programs for customers?
Medicus: We give so many discounts, discounts to our older customers; we try to add a little something to our new customers to make them happy. We give military discounts, student discounts.
Patch: What are you looking forward to?
Medicus: I’ve probably got five more years until I retire. Right now I work with Kirk Bauer with Disabled Sports USA, and I’m looking forward to having time to do more things with them.
Patch: What is one thing you think is needed in the business community?
Medicus: A small grocery store would be really nice. Living in Dunmore, I used to love The Store down there in Paradise. We have great restaurants and a lot of other services in Catonsville, but a grocery store would be nice.
Patch: What's the best piece of advice that someone has given you when it comes to running a business?
Medicus: Have broad shoulders. You can get a lot of grief from people and also a lot of praise. Don’t let the praise go to your head and don’t let the criticism bring you down.