A Family Business
When Sheryl White, owner of Fiddly Fig Flowers, graduated college in 1985 with a business degree, she knew she was creative, but didn’t want to teach. She comes from a family of educators, including her father, Jim, who used to be a superintendent. In 1985 he was burnt out from the education world and decided to buy a business, and offered Sheryl a job with him straight out of college. Jim bought The Fiddly Fig and Teefey flowers, doing the business side of things, while Sheryl operated the creative side. They were a great team, Sheryl said.
“He taught me a lot about managing people,” Sheryl said. “We had a lot of respect for each other and were very close. We enjoyed working together and he was always really supportive of me in business.”
Jim passed away 4 years ago and Sheryl continues to run the Brookside shop and Teefey flowers, but you’ll see her most days at the Brookside location.
A Brookside History
In 1995, Sheryl White, current owner of Fiddly Fig Flowers, and her father moved the Fiddly Fig to its current location on 63rd Street in Brookside, a homey brick building built in 1911 that is similar to many houses in the area.
The building used to be the old police and fire station. Police cars would come through the tall glass doors at the back of the now store. And if you ever sit in the back room for a consultation, you’re actually sitting in the old jail cell. When it was built in 1911, Brookside was on the outskirts of Kansas City. As the city grew and JC Nichols’ suburban homes expanded further out, the police/fire station closed.
When the building went up for auction in 1995, Sheryl and her father bid and got it.
“It was the best and scariest thing we ever did,” Sheryl said. “I love this building and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
What’s in a Name
In 1985, current owner Sheryl White’s father, Jim, bought The Fiddly Fig from its previous owners who had been operating it since the 1960s. The Fiddly Fig used to be where the @Red Door Woodfired Grill is now on Brookside Plaza. The first owners sold mostly houseplants, one of which was called a “Fiddle Leaf Fig” and the inspiration for the name of the flower shop. The second owners kept the name and focused on the floral business, eventually handing it over to Sheryl and her father.
“Our business has grown tenfold since we started,” Sheryl said. When The Fiddly Fig first started, it was only a flower shop, but Sheryl expanded their clients for floral and adding the gifts and housewares side of the store.
“What we have developed is our service,” Sheryl said. “The best thing you can do is pride yourself in customer service. In a small biz, that's your advantage.”