With his handle-bar mustache and Southern drawl, Bruce McShan looks and sounds more like he belongs on a ranch than a flower shop. But he’s been working at his profession all his life, he says. “My parents started this business Dec. 1, 1948, and I was born 21 days later. That’s 56 years.” McShan, of course, owns McShan Florist, which has been at the same Garland Road location since its beginnings. He’s known in the industry for breaking new ground — he’s currently beta-testing GPS technology for delivery and distribution purposes, and his fleet of delivery vans run on natural gas. Though he declines to discuss the number of flowers he’ll deliver on Valentine’s Day, he says his business usually increases around eight-fold. Here, he discusses his love-hate relationship with February and more.
Let’s get this out of the way — if someone calls you Feb. 13, are they going to be able to get an order delivered?
It’s not a definite no, but it’s like anything else — the earlier you order, the better off you are. We’ll do what we can, but the well is only so full. We always try to tell people if they really want to make an impression, send them early. Or don’t wait for Valentine’s Day at all. Anytime’s a good time to show someone you love them.
So February must be your favorite month, eh? Or is it your least favorite?
Least favorite month. You want to please all your customers, and you try your best to please them and do everything you can. However, there’s a limited amount of time you can do that in, and there’s always someone you can’t help.
What kind of hours do you and your staff keep on Valentine’s Day?
[He laughs.] What kind of sleeping hours is a better question. Before Feb. 13, I’ll come in around 7 a.m. and leave at 9 or 10 at night. On Feb. 13 Valentine’s Day I probably work 18-20 hours.
So red roses are still the most popular flower this time of year, right?
Always. That’s the standard, the red rose. When “Dallas” was on TV, there was a sterling silver rose [on the show], and for awhile, everybody wanted that. But most of your color roses don’t hold up as well as a good hardy red.
What’s the second most popular flower?
The stargazer lily. But they’re not as big as they used to be.
What’s the strangest order you’ve ever been asked to fill?
What’s strange to one isn’t to another. Something that is interesting is that we’ve done personal flowers for every sitting president since 1948 when they’re in town, whether it’s sending them to their hotel rooms or for different events. We provided the flowers when Ford did a speech at SMU. We did flowers for “Semi-Tough,” the movie, and met a lot of movie stars then. We also did a lot for “Dallas” when it first started on TV. We’ve been very fortunate. This is interesting work.
So who’s the most interesting person you’ve ever met?
My wife, Sheri. [They’ve been married 31 years]. Boy, ain’t that sucking up? [Laughs]
Do you give her flowers on Valentine’s Day?
Well, my god — she’s here working this time of year. She understands what we’re going through.
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