Traditions run deep in Texas.
One such tradition is a big business in Glen Rose, where Melissa Braswell operates L&M Wholesale & Manufacturing, the leading distributor of homecoming mum supplies in the Lone Star State.
While homecoming mums are as common in Texas as the fanfare surrounding Friday night lights, Braswell said the tradition never spread far beyond bordering states although the wholesale business does have a few clients who took the tradition with them when they moved outside of the region.
Through the local store front, located at 705 N.E. Big Bend Trail, and the online store, mumsupplies.com, the family business includes 5,000 square feet of mum supplies which sprouted out of a business venture started by Melissa's parents, Luther and the late Nettie Slater.
The Reporter sat down with Melissa Monday as the hustle and bustle of mum season was in full swing.
1 - What gave birth to the family business?
"My parents built Spare Time, an antique store ran by my dad, in 1997 and expanded the store about eight years ago to include furniture," Melissa said, adding the business began to transition when a florist closed and Nettie purchased $500 in homecoming trinkets, which flew off the shelves.
Some time later, Melissa and Nettie made a trip to Dallas to purchase garters from a lady who was liquidating her stock.
"We purchased her manufacturing and wholesale business," Melissa said.
Today, the shop has a seemingly never ending supply of everything a crafter needs to create homecoming mums - feathers, boas, garland, stickers, ribbon, miniature mascots and more - and manufactures and distributes garters and mum bankings.
Staffers also construct an array of mums for schools across the region that allow shoppers to pick from a complete stock and personalize their purchases.
2 - Tell us about the L&M staff.
Melissa said the manufacturing and wholesaler is a true family business, which includes her husband, Riki.
"My husband works here now," she said. "He worked for Hewlitt Packard but quit about two years ago when my mom got sick with brain cancer. My older daughter, Lauren, is a preschool teacher but takes time off to help during homecoming."
Melissa's two youngest children, Christian, 14, and Daniel, 11, are also on staff.
Adding to the family affair is Melissa's best friend, Vicki Stone, whose family is known to pitch in during the rush.
"I also have two part-time employees and Evelyn Martinez manages Spare Time," she added.
L&M operates like a well-oiled machine, everyone having a designated task. Daniel designs mini mums that are sold at Spare Time and he and Christian also manufacture bows that are sold online.
While you might not find him making mums, Luther can also be found in the store.
3 - How much of your business can be attributed to manufacturing?
Spare Time offers a sizable selection of Wilton cake, party and craft supplies and more, but Melissa said the upsurge in business at L&M continues to cut into its 4,000 square foot of retail space. For Melissa, the decrease just makes sense.
"We make in one month (at L&M) what we bring in the whole year at Spare Time," she said. "That end of the shop keeps getting smaller and we will force it over some more."
While homecoming season will wind down at the end of October, Melissa said L&M will begin preparing for next year's festivities in November.
"It never stops," she said. "During homecoming, we will work until about midnight and make mums on Sundays after church."