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celebrating 10 years of froggie's full sun
Story by Audrey Poff; photography by Amy Long

After sitting on the Memphis bridge for more than two hours in heavy traffic as Gulf Coast residents evacuated for a hurricane in 2004, Lynn Chrisman decided it was time to end her 11-year commute to Memphis for work.

A friend mentioned that she should inquire about a local floral and garden shop that was for sale and soon after, she and her husband, Mel, became the proud owners of Froggie’s Full Sun.

Lynn describes herself as being from the “ArkLaMiss” area, while Mel is from Oklahoma. The couple met in Little Rock when they were introduced by mutual friends during a 1994 Super Bowl party.

“A few months later, we were planning a Cancun vacation in August, another few months passed, and on August 27, 1994, we married and the vacation turned into a honeymoon,” Lynn said. “Two weeks after the honeymoon, we moved to Jonesboro.”

Before purchasing Full Sun, Lynn worked in the legal field of business/commercial real estate for 22 years for law firms in Little Rock and Memphis. Before Mel’s retirement, he was an air traffic controller, served 20 years in Arkansas National Guard and worked as manager of a rental equipment company in Jonesboro.

The couple made a slight change to the floral and garden store’s name when they purchased Full Sun, which had been in business for nine years when the couple purchased the gift store.

“Mel came up with the name Froggie’s,” Lynn said. “I was driving a lime green Volkswagen Beetle and he said I looked like a frog going down the road, so he got me a personalized car tag with the word ‘Froggie.’ When we purchased Full Sun, we just added Froggie’s to the name to make it our own ‘Froggie’s Full Sun.’”

What are some of the major changes you have made at Froggie’s in the past 10 years? The biggest change we made was eliminating the floral department in 2009. The floral and gift business was changing and we needed to change with it. It was a difficult decision for us to make. Both Johnny Stayton, the floral designer who had been with Full Sun for 13 years, and I mutually agreed that it was a good time for the store to focus more on the gifts and gourmet food lines, as well as our gift basket business. Some other changes we have made over the past 10 years were expanding the Tyler Candle line to have the largest selection in town. We are also a Premier Partner with Coton Colors Happy Everything pottery line. Upon customers’ request, we have also expanded our gift line to include a baby and wedding registry. Our gift baskets are well known in town by our signature lime green boxes and great lines of gourmet food. What could be better than “free delivery” in the city limits for any gift or gift basket?

You and Mel are both involved in the business. How do you divide the responsibilities associated with running a small business? Dividing the responsibilities associated with running our small business is easy for Mel and me. Mel just makes a suggestion, I say “no,” and then he walks away shaking his head because he knows no matter what he says, I am going to do what I want to do. In all seriousness, Mel takes care of all of us here at the store. He makes sure everything in the store is working so we can open the doors every morning. Plus, Mel is the happy face you see when you have a gift delivered. I’m the one who handles the day-to-day operations with the help of Anne Marie Adair and Allie Tagupa. Both of them keep me on point and pretty much tell me
what to do. I am also fortunate to have longtime employees June Adair and Janice Kroeter to work during our busy seasons.

As a small business owner, what are some of the greatest challenges of operating a retail store in Jonesboro? There are several challenges such as knowing and having what the customer wants, when they want it. We strive to have a large selection of products in our store. If there is something we don’t have, we do our best to either get it for the customer or direct them to where they can purchase it. Another challenge is to keep that creative mind flowing. I am constantly thinking about the store and what I can do to make it
better. The biggest challenge is getting the message across to “shop local.” It really makes a difference to the community. Jonesboro has a great variety of small business owners who work hard to provide our local and surrounding area for customers with the best product price and customer services.

When is Froggie’s 10th anniversary and how do you plan to celebrate this milestone? Our 10th anniversary is October 22nd. Being within a week and a half before our annual Christmas Open House, we are going to combine
the two events into one exciting celebration. On November 2nd from noon to 5 pm, we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary and Christmas Open House. It will be bigger and better than ever. Not only will we have storewide discounts, refreshments, and giveaways, Santa Claus will be giving away more than $10,000 in gifts to our customers. We just want to show appreciation to
all of our long-term customers, as well as our newly discovered
customers, for their support.

Are there any changes ahead for Froggie’s in the near future? Change is an everyday event for us as I like to mix it up and move things around often. We always have a new and exciting line shown in a unique display to stimulate the senses. Shopping in our store is a fun event. We want to be known as a one-stop shop for all your gift giving needs. We continue to expand our product lines and services to meet our customer needs.

What do you enjoy most about your work at Froggie’s? Our customers! We love providing great customer service and products for their enjoyment. We want our customers to have a fun and relaxed shopping experience. Instead
of seeing them as just another buyer, we often times have personal relationships with customers. Anne Marie, Allie, Mel and I, as well as June and Janice, consider ourselves one big store family and we include our customers in that family.