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Key Idea: Have Fun

Owner Lorraine Miller works hard to get employees and customers to laugh.

Key Question:


Throw a lot of parties, find ways to celebrate and make laughter a priority.

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Think about it

Do you have fun at work?  Would your employees say that they have fun at work?

Clip from: Cactus & Tropicals

Salt Lake City: Meet Lorraine Miller;  in 1976 she invested $2,000 to start the business of her dreams. Initially she just sold house plants.  Today Cactus & Tropicals  provides indoor and outdoor landscaping for over 500 customers and her retail store and greenhouse are full of exotic plants and gifts.  

It is a place people just like to go to hang out!

In 1994 she was named Utah's Small Business Person of the Year then went on to become the first woman to win the national award from the US Small Business Administration. In 1997 Lorraine was named by Ernst & Young as one of Salt Lake's outstanding entrepreneurs.  

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Cactus and Tropicals

Lorraine Miller, founder,
Scott and Karin Pynes, owners

2735 South 2000 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84109
801 485 2542

Visit our web site:

Office: 801 485 2542

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1975

Have Fun

Unidentified Woman #2: I worked in another plant store, and I like this one better so I wanted to come work here.

HATTIE: How is this different?

Woman #2: It's different because Lorraine really cares about her employees.

HATTIE: Mm-hmm. And that...

Woman #2: The other place just was sort of--I don't know.

HATTIE: Sell plants.

Woman #2: It was haphazard--sell plants, water plants, and it wasn't fun.

LORRAINE: Fun is very fundamental here.

HATTIE: Fun is fundamental.


HATTIE: I like that. Fun is fundamental. Is that a slogan...

LORRAINE: No, it isn't.

HATTIE: ...or is this your inner--your inner thought? Fun is fundamental. If people aren't having fun, then they're not gonna come to work and do their best, right?

LORRAINE: Yeah. I mean, work should not be grueling. Work should be pleasant.

Unidentified Woman #3: It's nice to come to work and want to work with the people who you're with and enjoy what you're doing.

HATTIE: OK. So is fun freedom?

Woman #2: Yes.

Man #3: It is.

Woman #3: Yeah.

Man #3: I worked for a big corporate--I worked in the corporate world for about 11 years, and it's--you're just a number. And you come here, they--each one of us has our own opinion.

HATTIE: And everybody voices it.

Man #3: And what happens--yeah. We do. We do.

HATTIE: And everybody--everybody disagrees, you know?

Man #3: Diplomatically, but we do voice it. But what I noticed here is she lets us --if we have a certain interest or a certain talent, we use it.

LORRAINE: Well, the first--there's a couple of lessons that came quickly to me. One is if I want freedom and I want to be creative and I want to grow, then I certainly want to create that atmosphere for other people. Number two is a point comes for any person in business that you can't do it by yourself. And so you're dependent on other people. And my main job now is to teach my people my philosophy or to have them share it with me you know, to find people who share it. And then once I have that group, then they take the bull by the horns. They go by themselves, and...

HATTIE: Why do you think so many small-business owners don't understand what you've just said, that it

LORRAINE: You know, lots of things, Hattie, but they all come from the same premise, which is that employers and employees are enemies. They're in a war and one has to outwit the other. And, you know, I mean, you see that evidenced in so many things that happen today. For example, there's a lot of conversation among business owners that the work ethic is poor. I believe that we create that.

People who come into our offices to service, And then we wonder why they don't want to come to work the next day. So I think we are creating the work ethic that we hate. But the other thing is we don't do anything to educate people about how small business succeeds, and we don't give ownership to people who work there in its success or credit to them. So I try to play that a little bit differently because I start from the premise that I can grow my business to a certain point, and then after that, I'm stuck because I can only juggle so many bottles at once.

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