Star City Six – Gary Tharnish
Burton & Tyrrell’s Flowers (btflowers.com) is a local floral, plant, and event business. Gary Tharnish is the owner and florist at Burton & Tyrrell’s Flowers.
Tell us a little about your business.
I purchased Burton’s Flowers in 1986 and Tyrrell’s Flowers in 2001. We were located at 56 and Highway 2 for 30 years and then moved into our current studio setting at 3601 Calvert St., STE 12 a few years ago. Rather than the traditional front room, you’re welcomed into our workroom of our shop (stay too long and we’ll put you to work). Corporate and event business, coupled with everyday orders, are our mainstay. We have a good online business as well, which is growing in leaps and bounds from month to month.
How did you get started in the business?
In high school, my best friend’s mom bought a flower shop. I made my first design when the flowers were all falling apart on a Mother’s Day. I grabbed some of them and stuck them in a vase. They immediately gave me a stack of orders and that was my start, from the ground up.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
The explosion of technology since the 80s has been hard, but sometimes it has been hilarious. For example, a bride that said she had a Pinterest board. I excused myself to get a coffee thinking she was going out to her car to bring in some poster board with pictures on it (LOL!).
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Being inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). I am also a member of the Professional Floral Communicators International. In addition, I am a certified public speaker for the floral industry and I speak to peers at floral conventions and gatherings nationally.
Tell us a little about your family.
My son Josh and his wife Sarah have three kids and live in California. Josh is an incredible man and has risen to the top of his profession in the marketing industry. He has done some awesome things over the years. My daughter Erin, a graduate of Denver University, will soon be leaving for grad school. My other daughter Laura is at UNL. They’ll both make a positive impact on this crazy world and I am proud of them!
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
When I got fat…geez, what a drag. I used to be able to eat anything and then, suddenly, I would look at a picture of a malt and gain 10 pounds. Last year I went on a ketosis diet and lost 70 pounds. I lift weights regularly and have a new lease on life!
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Play drums and keys. I just want to bang on the drums all day. Music is life for me and it’s what I do with every free minute I get.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I’m an open book so most people know everything about me. However, it seems most people don’t know that I play several musical instruments. I was a percussion major and piano minor at UNL. I recently opened a music studio where I teach drums and piano.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My good friend Eddie Brown says, “Ask for what you want.” If you don’t, you may never get it.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
“Tequila” by The Champs. It’s the only song I can remember the words to and it’s also my go-to karaoke song.
What is your favorite TV show?
The Lucille Ball Show because I am the male version of her.