A not-so-secret garden: Helping one small business owner's dream bloom

William Hendrix, March 21, 2019

Before opening her floral shop, Roxy’s Garden, Kari Oaks spent years as a stay-at-home mom. As much as she enjoyed the involvement in her children’s lives—PTA volunteer, activity chauffeur, and proud cheerleader—she had a desire to do something for herself, to have something that was truly her own. When it came time to pursue a long-held dream, she turned to Hancock Whitney.

A dream is planted

The journey to Roxy’s Garden began in 2008 when Kari’s husband’s job moved their family from Kingwood, Texas to Ardmore, Oklahoma. Relocating from the only hometown they had ever known, the family was not thrilled about the move. But Kari vowed to show her family how to make lemonade out of lemons. “I learned a lot about myself during that time,” says Kari. “I decided that the move was going to be a good thing.”

After arriving in Ardmore, Kari befriended a flower shop owner and began working part-time learning the flower business. There, the seed was planted as Kari fell in love with the idea of one day owning her own flower shop.

 

_36A0556

Growth through adversity

While learning the intricacies and art of floral design in Oklahoma, Kari was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through 20 rounds of chemo Kari says she continued concentrating on what was truly important.  “When you’re sick, everything comes into focus. Everything becomes more clear.”

She hopes she showed her children how to deal with adversity with grace. “It was an honor to have taught them something like that,” Kari explains. “I hope that they took away, not just ‘My mom was sick, but my mom was sick and she survived and thrived.’”

In full bloom

In 2015 after her husband’s job moved the Oaks to Youngsville, Louisiana, a fast-growing city 10 miles south of Lafayette, Kari felt she was ready to take the leap and finally open her own shop. According to Kari,“I had found the perfect spot in Sugar Mill Pond and I could see the shop’s logo in my mind. I just knew it was the right time.”

Based on the recommendation of other local business owners, Kari visited Hancock Whitney. “The day I walked into the bank, they embraced me. They understood me and knew where I wanted to go,” she explains. “They saw the dream through my eyes.”

Using money from their savings account, along with recommendations from her bankers, Kari secured her ideal location and set up her business and merchant accounts. In no time, Roxy’s Garden bloomed. “I would not be able to have done this without Hancock Whitney,” Kari reveals. “I feel so blessed to know they have my back. They are always there.”

Nearly three years after the start of Roxy’s Garden, Kari continues to create unique and unconventional arrangements while attributing a small part of her success to Hancock Whitney. “I feel the unconditional support,” she describes. “I can call them and say ‘I need help, or what about this,’ and I know they will give me strong advice and provide a solution to any problem I have.”