May 2013

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Photo by Bobbi Petersen work With Me Sue Klein A hundred years in business and still blooming When you enter Klein's Floral and Greenhouses on East Washington Avenue one of the first things that catches your eye, besides the colorful spring blossoms, is a poster covered with old photographs. They're of owner Sue Klein's grandparents, who founded the company in 1913. Now as the family business reaches an impressive mark—100 years old this year—Klein continues to plant the seeds for success in a modern facility that grows annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs. Her foray into the business started when Klein was just a little girl living with her parents in the farmhouse next door. To this day some customers still call her by her childhood nickname, "Suzie." "[They] remember me being a little girl running around the greenhouse, carrying a cat in one hand and a book in the other," she says. Klein always knew she wanted to take the reins someday. So after studying floriculture and business at UW-Madison, the ambitious Klein bought the company from her parents. She was just 25 years old. These days, Klein says the greenhouse runs so smoothly she is often free to focus on her passion: creating flower arrangements for weddings and other occasions. Meanwhile, she also has her hands full at home with her four kids. "There are many days I wish I had a clone," she jokes. Times Sure But her trick for balancing it all? Have Changed Klein makes sure she's always Klein's Floral and Greenhome by 4 p.m. when the chilhouses began as a small venture by Klein's grandfather selling dren return from school—an homegrown produce out of his Ford accomplishment she credits her Model T. "Back then, East Washington staff for making possible. was a little dirt road and my dad used And though the fast-paced to count the number of cars driving business world around them by for fun," Klein explains. continues to evolve, Klein hopes "Now 50 to 60,000 cars go a steady demand for one of life's by every day!" simple pleasures—stopping to smell the flowers—will keep her company blooming. She might even pass it on to one of her children, who work at the greenhouses during school breaks. So what's next for Klein's? Hopefully, another century. –Cathy Martin May 2013 29

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