The Interiorscape Industry is what it is today because of the innovation and dedication of individuals like Maureen Voloudakis. We couldn’t be more proud to have the opportunity to adopt the legacy of The Potted Plant into our family here at Plant Solutions. We are so honored to get to work with Maureen before she retires. It is an invaluable gift to experience her innate talent for plant care and her extensive knowledge first-hand, which she always shares with class and poise. The journey of Maureen Voloudakis’, a woman business owner and British immigrant, who took a tiny plant shop in 1968 and turned it into one of the most well-known interiorscape and horticultural maintenance companies in the Southwest, is inspirational.
How it all Begins
After Maureen and her husband move to Arizona, they fall in love with a small plant shop in Central Phoenix and just have to buy it. “It was basically the driveway of a house that was an art gallery. Somebody had hanging plants over the driveway for sale,” she tells us. Their location amidst the Downtown high-rises instantly captivates corporate employees on their way to work. The evolution of their simple plant shop erupts after identifying an opportunity sparked by a conversation with a customer. “I’ve been buying plants from you, and my people just kill them!” the owner of a large construction company, tells them in frustration. This customer’s company became the first of many plant maintenance accounts.
Passing on a Passion for Interiorscapes
Maureen is a natural with plants, which fuels her successful takeover of the interior plant business after her husband starts a landscaping business. She loves running her own business. Juggling being a mother of two, ages three and five, The Potted Plant allows her to spend time and involve her children. “I gained my passion and work ethic from my parents,” says Maureen’s son, Steve Voloudakis, who is still active today in the industry as a leader, designer, and sales team member at Plant Solutions. “I would work all summer long to earn extra money. It was my dream to own and run it someday.” Maureen makes Potted Plant a great place to work, says Steve, “One of the great things about working for my mom is she was very understanding and empathetic towards all her employees.” Many people are happily employed at The Potted Plant for 18-28 years and still remain part of the team today.
I’m British. We have green thumbs.
– Maureen Voloudakis
Building an Interiorscape Legacy
Initially, The Potted Plant is one of only a handful of local businesses to offer plant maintenance as a service and is the first company to guarantee customers’ plants. It isn’t long before the idea is out, and competition begins to arise. Rather than being discouraged, the challenge invigorates their growth. She takes on projects like supplying and maintaining plants for all the upscale stores in Utah, Texas, and Arizona, averaging 70-80 accounts. Salt River Project hires them to build enormous atriums for five different buildings; this project requires a crane to get the trees to the 5th floor because they are too large for the elevator. The Potted Plant even plant-styles and services the Arizona House and Senate. Due to the lack of indoor plant products, Maureen’s team even innovates and patents a soil probe to make testing the moisture in pots easier and more accurate.
Making an Impact in the Interiorscape Industry
It is more than just getting the most prominent accounts for Maureen; she profoundly believes that plants are essential to our society’s well-being and longevity: “Every building should have plants and flowers. It grounds and connects us with nature. Having a nice place to work makes people enjoy going to the office. It no longer feels like work.” Maureen contributes her skill and love for plants to being raised in Britain, where they have gardens in school and teach the youth the value of nurturing nature. “Horticulture is not something that most schools teach here. But it’s imperative when considering what it does for our life,” she says, advocating for similar programs in the United States. She believes if nature is more of a focus in education, we will see global advancement in crucial areas such as forest restoration and even our ability to extend space travel. “I hate to say this, but we would all be dead without plants. Plants clean the air. Everybody’s taking oxygen out of the air and putting back poison. We don’t just care for the plants; they take care of us.”
Honoring the Voyage
Reflecting on where we are today at Plant Solutions, we are inspired with gratitude to celebrate the retirement of Maureen Voloudakis and her extraordinary accomplishments. The rich history of a dreamer who transformed a driveway plant shop into a thriving Interiorscape Company will forever be in the heart of who we are.
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