Blooms Company wins 2021 Small Business Leadership Award

Published 3:44 pm Monday, May 17, 2021

Blooms Company received the 2021 Small Business Leadership Award during a luncheon co-hosted by William Carey University and the Area Development Partnership. A Hattiesburg tradition for almost three decades, the annual event was held May 5 at Tatum Court.

WCU President Dr. Tommy King presented the award to Blooms owner Joyce Hicks.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am. Joyce Hicks lives in Sumrall, one block from the house where I was born and grew up. I’m always happy to recognize a person from Sumrall,” King said.

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The business originally opened in 1994 as Blooms A Garden Shop. Over the years, Joyce Hicks welcomed her daughter, Adrienne Hicks-Garanich, to the business. The store re-branded as Blooms Company and moved to a downtown Hattiesburg storefront on McLeod Street last year.

“When I was just a young kid in Sumrall, we had a little mom and pop service station and store. There I learned the value of customer service,” Hicks said.

“Every inspired business begins with a thought, an idea, and a concept – just like Blooms in 1994. When I would pray about it, God would say, ‘allow me to do this in your life.’ It was the most wonderful adventure because I was able to work with my children, Adrienne and Jordan, as my mom did with me. And now, at our new location on McLeod Street, I work with Adrienne’s children – my grandchildren.”

“And, of course, my incredibly talented daughter has taken the business to new heights. She has her own ideas, concepts and dreams and has done incredible things.”

Chad Newell, president of the Area Development Partnership, said his organization is proud to partner with William Carey University on the Small Business Leadership Award.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of greater Hattiesburg and the lifeblood of our state and country. Congratulations on your successful venture, Blooms. You know a business is successful when it stands the test of time, and Blooms has stood the test of time. You know a business is successful when it’s expanding, and the new location on McLeod Street is a great example,” Newell said.

Chef, restauranteur, and author Robert St. John delivered the keynote speech: “They asked me to speak on a topic, and I couldn’t have picked a better one because it’s certainly timely. It was, ‘Light in Darkness: How small businesses can weather the storm during difficult times.’”

Academic scholarships

The Small Business Leadership Award Luncheon also raises funds for scholarships. Three students from the WCU School of Business received scholarships funded by these year’s event sponsors: Cooperative Energy, CSpire, Mississippi Power, Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association and Southern Pine Electric.

Hunter Pierce of Ellisville received the Richard “Pepper” Jones Endowed Scholarship. An advocate for education, “Pepper” Jones worked to strengthen the relationship between local universities and the business community.

Kaitlyn Gory of Hattiesburg and Dawson Mowry of Sumrall received School of Business scholarships.