Designing Something New

Something New Event
A fire blower performs at a secret 60th birthday bash, planned by Joe Mineo, co-owner of Something New Florist and Events.

Joe Mineo was fearless at age 23. He’d graduated with a degree in theater from NYU but had decided the stage wasn’t for him. So he set his own stage as a florist in 1987, designing something new by specializing in events and parties.

That move led him to where he is today, a highly sought-after florist and event designer who serves customers ranging from a bride and groom hosting a small wedding to those planning induction ceremonies at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. His multi-lined business, Something New Floral and Events, an ERIE Customer with the Chase Agency, runs out of a 29,000 square foot office and warehouse with a 5,000 square foot retail showroom in Canfield, Ohio.

“Growing the business didn’t happen overnight,” says Joe, whose employee head count is now close to 50. “It’s been 25 years, in fact. We’ve been lucky that it’s grown as it has.”

Luck and a little hard work and ingenuity. He explained that the business grew because they really were doing something different by delivering more than just flowers for customers.

“We think through all the details of an event, down to how certain guests will enter and what their individual experience will be like,” he says. “It really is all about offering something new.”

How’d he do it?
Joe didn’t grow the business by himself. He surrounded himself with talented people who he trusted to do their job and help him do his. In 1999, at a crucial time in their growth, they built their current location, and his sister Anna Howells became his partner.

Joe Mineo Anna HowellsJoe also took his brand online with a series of websites and a blog, thanks to marketing and PR expert Eska Bauman. When it comes to the books, he’s on solid ground thanks to Debbie Fajcak, who manages cash flow and accounting.

“I could walk into the room and it’s just a room,” Debbie says. “When Joe walks in, he sees endless possibilities. I’m that way with money, though – I see the bank account and I can see 10 different ways money will be distributed based on the needs of the business.”

Those needs, like anyone’s, can sometimes be unexpected. This past summer, Something New was faced with a surprise $14,000 bill to replace the air conditioning in the store front and offices. Then a couple of small leaks in the roof meant gathering estimates from $5,000 in repairs to $70,000 for a roof replacement.

“Cash flow can be so hard to anticipate—every day gets in the way,” Debbie says. “I work to keep a minimum balance so those surprises are covered, but it’s a delicate balance.”

When it comes to paying estimated taxes and accounting for employee benefits, those everyday cash flow decisions can get complex. Debbie has to account and plan for slow times of year, such as January through March, by saving during the busy times, like December. Estimated taxes, which first come due on Jan. 15, have to come out of the same pot. This leaves less funding available to cover expenses during slow times.

Something New has a line of credit to use when cash flow is tight, but Debbie does all she can to avoid dipping into it. Debbie also helped Something New transition into an S-Corp, which helps lessen the burden.

Delivering an Experience
Joe’s passion and his strong personal brand combined with behind the scenes magic has made Something New a go-to for anyone looking to celebrate life’s special moments.

“We built our company on the idea that we’re delivering an experience,” Joe says. “And that evolves. Our aesthetic is very different and can change with the times – our logo has evolved over the years and we’ve had three different locations – but the special experience we offer never changes. The door handles on our building, the floor, our displays, the courtesy we show customers—everything is part of that experience. We have a big expectation of ourselves and what we bring to the table.”

It’s that big expectation that paves the way for Joe and his team to design something new every day.

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