I believe that one of Mississippi’s real economic opportunities is the continued expansion of the creative economy. The state has recognized this opportunity and has been studying and finding ways to encourage its growth. In a state commissioned report titled “Realizing the Economic Opportunity of Creativity in Mississippi,” it was noted, “Mississippi’s creative people, companies, and institutions, past and present, are a vital part of what defines the state. Their achievements and talents contribute to Mississippi’s distinct ambiance. But these same creative people, companies, and institutions collectively also add significant wealth to the state’s economy in ways that have been undercounted and under-recognized.” Many of these individuals are inspiring entrepreneurs who turn their creative skills and passions into thriving businesses. David Spurk, owner of Petal Pushers in Ridgeland, is one of those inspiring creative economy entrepreneurs.
Spurk is a native of Crystal Springs and from a young age knew he wanted to be in the floral business.He explained,“Ever since I was a child, I have spent countless hours growing things. Whenever I would get extra money as a kid, I would buy more material for planting it in the ground. It is just who I was, and who I am.” He was hired by a local florist when he was 14 and that’s when his career really began. By 17, he was designing on the panel for the annual state floral convention. He went on to work for a florist in Brookhaven while attending Copiah-Lincoln Community College where he also taught a continuing education class in floral design.
In 1983, Spurk moved to Jackson and worked for a local wholesale florist that gave him additional insight into the floral industry. He also waited tables at night for a fine dining establishment. He noted, “Clients that I developed working at the restaurant later became clients of Petal Pushers when I opened in 1985 and remain clients to this day.” Spurk is passionate about his craft and shared, “I do what I do as a celebration of life. None of us will be here for long so I feel that we should try to make a positive impact on people’s lives while we can.” He is considered a master artisan in his field and not only provides floral designs but also develops and manages every aspect of events from customized event floor plans, to the catering, food presentation, and overall visual aesthetics.”
Spurk also uses his gifts and talents to help make a difference in the community. He is an active member of the board of Friends of Children’s Hospital, which benefits Batson Children’s Hospital. He noted, “I really love what I do and, and while it is rewarding in and of itself, it means the world to me that I can harness what I love to support Friends of Children’s Hospital.” He has worked with the organization since 1999 when he began donating his time and artistry for fundraising events. He explained his passion for working with Friends, “The families who visit Batson Children’s Hospital have such intense need, and some of them greatly need assistance to secure the health and healing of their child. If I can support life by making a room come to life, then I will always be greatly fulfilled by that.” Learning about creative entrepreneurs who have the courage and drive to turn their dreams into reality always inspires me. I come away encouraged by Spurk’s commitment to excellence in his craft and his passion for helping children. I hope you will be, too.
» Martin Willoughby is a business consultant and regular contributing columnist for the Mississippi Business Journal. He serves as Chief Operating Officer of Butler Snow Advisory Services, LLC and can be reached at martin.willoughby@ butlersnow.com.
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