Deb Fowler doesn't need a reminder about where she came from.

She just has to look out her new front window.

Nearly 25 years after setting up her first table at the Tosa Farmer's Market, her shop, The Flower Lady, is almost back where it began.

'We're right across the bridge,' Fowler said. 'I can see the market from our shop. It's so wonderful. It feels like it was meant to be.'

Admittedly, Fowler was never far from her roots.

About a year after starting at the farmers market, Fowler opened up a little shop on Wauwatosa Avenue, next door to Swan Interiors.

'It was really the size of a big bedroom,' Fowler laughed.

Within a couple of years, she moved to 1460 Underwood Ave., the place she called her home away from home until the last week of March, when the flower and home decor shop moved to 1417 Underwood Ave., formerly Robertson's Hardware store. The shop will celebrate its grand re-opening May 21.

'It feels like I've just come home,' Fowler said.

It's a move she'd been contemplating for years, but one that didn't feel right until recently.

'I think about Kickstarter and how people get funded these days. People get $100,000 online and quick start a business. This really is home grown. I started at the green market and, as that grew, I could afford to rent a little place. And, as that grew, I could rent a little bigger place,' Fowler said.

'As the support grew, we grew; it's a local start-up, and it means something. So, even though I kept growing and opportunities came in other locations, I wanted to stay here. I love the village; it's home.'

That home has supported Fowler since she worked week-to-week to stay at the farmers market, where she regularly sold out of wreaths and flower arrangements. And it has stuck with her through three moves as she slowly upgraded spaces to accommodate more of the home decor items she loves to sell alongside her flowers.

'We really are two stores in one,' she said.

It's part of what fueled her most recent relocation.

'It was more of a creative endeavor. I wanted a little more room to sell larger home decor items, and that always felt too big for the other space,' said Fowler, a former graphic designer.

'Something was missing,' Fowler said. 'My job was highly creative, but sort of one-dimensional. Being an entrepreneur comes easily for me because I can be creative in many ways.'

And now, with the space she's always wanted, Fowler said she can fully realize her vision.

'A woman I know came in and said, 'This is what you wanted all along.' And it is. It just had to come around in its own time.'


BUSINESS:The Flower Lady, Inc. 1417 Underwood Ave.


PHONE: 414-259-0999

OWNER: Deb Fowler


TYPE OF BUSINESS: flower, home decor and gift shop

PEARLS OF WISDOM:'As the support grew, we grew; it's a local start-up, and it means something.'

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