Martin’s Floral & Home Décor is a common name for 417-landers, but what is now a successful floral and craft store began as a second career for Jan and Jerry Martin Sr. A 25-year veteran of the newspaper industry, Jerry Sr. was ready for a change and had always had an interest in owning a retail store. So in 1989, the couple bought a Ben Franklin store on South Campbell Avenue in Springfield. “When we first started, we were scared,” Jerry Sr. says.
One thing they weren’t afraid of? Hard work. During the first 18 months, the couple only had one half-day off—Christmas. Soon, their effort, or sweat equity as they like to call it, was paying off. Jerry Sr. and Jan’s son Jerry Jr. and his wife, Christy, had both joined the business within a few years of its opening. Then, in 1994, they bought land to build a new store that was double the size of their first location, and, soon after, they expanded it by another 3,500 square feet.
“We were one of the few of the franchise stores with Ben Franklin that was successful,” Jerry Sr. says. “We could see that it wasn’t going anywhere, so we decided to drop it.” In 1996, the family struck out on its own—a move that saved and gave the Martins more freedom with inventory—and renamed the business. Twenty-one years later and 417-landers still know the name Martin’s Floral & Home Décor.