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Bagoy’s Begins Its Second Century with New Owners

Jan 28, 2023 | Featured, News, Retail, Small Business

Bagoys newest owners

Adam Baxter and Kristen Keifer, the newest owners of Bagoy’s Florist & Home.

Alaska Business

The oldest flower shop in Anchorage is under fresh ownership. After more than forty years in one family’s care, Bagoy’s Florist & Home now belongs to the husband-and-wife team of Adam Baxter and Kristen Keifer.

A Hundred-Year-Old Shop

The previous owners, Chanda and Randy Mines, had run the shop since 1991. They took over from Chanda’s parents, Paul and Carol Humphrey, who bought the business in 1980 from Felix and Jennie Gay, who had bought it in 1972 from Mary Lakshas, the daughter of Marie Bagoy, the Austrian immigrant who began selling flowers from a greenhouse after moving to the young town of Anchorage in 1921.

About a year ago, the Mines were preparing to find the next owners. “That was part of the five-year plan,” says store manager Julie Wilson, “looking for quality owners that would continue the legacy of Bagoy’s, and when they found the right fit they would know it was time.”

Baxter and Randy Mines had a mutual friend whom Baxter, then working for Northrim Bank, had helped with a business transition. While they discussed a possible transition for Bagoy’s, Baxter told Mines he’d like to own a business someday. And then it clicked: “The more we talked, I was like, ‘Can I buy your business?’” Baxter recalls.

The sale closed on November 18, 2022, after ten months of work. “I think anyone that’s a commercial banker should have to be on this side of the table to understand what our customers go through,” Baxter says. “A lot of times, I feel like, ‘Why can’t you get me the purchase and sale agreement? I don’t understand what’s taking so long.’ Now I understand what takes so long.”

The transaction price is confidential.

Baxter says he was ready for a change after fifteen years in public accounting. He admits he knew “absolutely zero” about flowers, but he shadowed Randy for a month before the takeover was final.

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“I feel like I’m just getting it,” he says, noting that the hardest part, perhaps unsurprisingly, is learning the names of all the plants and varieties in Bagoy’s inventory. As the owner, he must be ready for anything. “I’m the highest paid expediter. There’s nothing here that I won’t do,” Baxter says.

Keifer continues to work as an engineer for the global firm HDR, but she comes into the shop on mornings, evenings, and weekends. She says the previous owners did a “fantastic job” building the company and preparing for the transition. “They had so many processes and things in place that it’s very easy to come in and learn how Bagoy’s does it. It was written out; there’s a purpose to everything, which was kind of nice,” Keifer says.

A Lot to Learn

eucalyptus

Filled with the aroma of eucalyptus, the cooler where fresh greens await delivery is Kristen Keifer’s favorite spot in her shop.

Alaska Business

Chanda Mines, despite growing up in her parents’ shop, had a lot to learn, too. “It was my parents’ company. As girls we kind of raised ourselves a lot of times because they were so busy with so much work,” she told Alaska Business in 2021. “We did get pulled in and worked for them for the holidays. I think my dad fired me at least a dozen times for different reasons.”

Her husband’s experience came from working for PepsiCo. Randy Mines recalled, “It’s a totally different animal when you can put merchandise on the shelf and let it sit for three or four months before it sells versus putting flowers in a cooler.”

That’s a lesson that Baxter and Keifer have discovered. “It surprised me that it’s more logistics than it is flowers,” Baxter says. “How do you get the highest quality product to the freight forwarder, and how do you get it on an airline in the most efficient way that keeps our products fresh?”

Bagoy’s no longer has its own greenhouse, but the company tries to purchase from in-state suppliers as much as possible, such as a grower in Wasilla.

Passing the Baton

Bagoys newest owners

When the sale of Bagoy’s was pending last summer, the shop was honored as Best of Alaska Business in the florist category.

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Under new ownership, the shop continues to bustle with eighteen full-time employees. Since the transition, they’ve hired three more. Keifer jokes that the aroma of a flower shop attracts willing applicants. “That’s the big sell. That’s why it wasn’t too hard to find people,” she says.

Baxter adds, “We can say they’re staff, but everyone here is more like family.”

The Mines are still around, too. “Randy and Chanda are also guiding and coaching,” says Wilson, “and I am pitching in wherever needed, just to help with the day-to-days that they wouldn’t know, coming from different fields of expertise.”

Wilson has been with Bagoy’s for fourteen years. “It’s a wonderful passing of the legacy and the torch,” she says, “to continue the legacy of Bagoy’s.”

It’s a legacy that Randy Mines was aware of, recalling in an earlier interview, “We were handed the baton by [Chanda’s] father and he said, ‘It’s all yours now—don’t screw it up. It’ll take care of you if you take care of it.’”

Baxter, originally from Fairbanks, and Keifer, who was born in Anchorage, both say they recognize the history they are stepping into.

Baxter says, “It’s a really cool opportunity to be able to buy a legacy business and continue the legacy going forward, to be a part of that.”

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In This Issue
Delivering Anchorage's Promise
June 2024
Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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