Amber Logue Morgan, owner of Fortin Gage Flowers & Gifts. (Christine Carignan)
Four years ago, Amber Logue Morgan was leading operations at Excell Mobile, the fastest growing company on Business NH Magazine’s list of NH’s Top 100 Private Companies in 2015, the top woman-led business in NH for three consecutive years, and on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies nationally. However, after helping the company to shut down NH operations when it moved to New Jersey in 2019, she knew she wanted to control her own destiny. Little did she know she would find it in a flower shop.
Morgan found herself adrift professionally. “I was at a young professionals networking meeting and people were talking about what was going on [in their career] and I had nothing to say,” she says. Morgan spent the pandemic as a logistics consultant and even briefly joined a presidential campaign while reevaluating life.
“I found myself again at crossroads,” she says. “A friend reached out and said, ‘I know you are trying to figure out the next opportunity but I have a friend with a flower shop who is planning to retire and needs someone like you to help out.’”
That friend of a friend was Jodi Gage, the third owner of Fortin Gage Flowers & Gifts, a 92-year-old mainstay of downtown Nashua. They connected, and Morgan quickly made an offer to buy the business. But Gage was not ready to retire quite yet and offered to bring her on to teach her the business with the intention of selling it to her in three years, she says.
Morgan joined Fortin Gage in August 2021 to manage its retail operations and within a year urged Gage again to sell the business to her. And at the beginning of this year, she made that entrepreneurial dream happen, becoming the fourth owner of Fortin Gage.
“We are going to do a full rebrand that will launch just before Mother’s Day. We are a high-end flower shop,” she says. “We are going to own that as an experience. When you walk in the door you will feel you are in luxurious place.”
That includes upscaling the gift part of the business to include such things as artisanal crackers made with edible flowers and adding a flower bar this summer where customers can select every part of their arrangement if they want to do so.
However, she wants to keep the legacy of the business intact and asked Gage to make a video of how to do things the “Fortin Gage way” that any new employee will have to watch.
A Fortin Gage employee puts the final touches on a floral arrangement. (Christine Carignan)
Purchasing the flower shop is the culmination of a career path that has taken several turns. Morgan lived in Las Vegas for a decade, where she worked as business manager for a custom car shop and started her own talent and modeling agency.
At 27, she returned to her hometown of Nashua and landed a job as executive assistant to the purchasing director at Excell Mobile, and within a year she rose up the ranks to become head of operations. The company, which launched in 2009, was generating annual revenue of more than $120 million by 2015. “It was insane growth, and it came down to operations and building an incredible support team and working with partners abroad,” she says. And Excell Mobile was recognized for giving back to the community, including being named the Nashua Soup Kitchen Business Partner Award and being named Small Business of the Year by the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.
Morgan says she is committed to her hometown. That’s why, she says, she decided not to stay with Excell Mobile when the owners decided to close the NH operations and move the company to New Jersey, she says. The company had 25 employees at the time, and Morgan agreed to help wind down NH operations over six months if the company guaranteed “not a single employee would be let go until they had another job,” she says.
And now as a small business owner, she says she will continue to find ways to support the community. The business itself is intrinsic to people’s lives, Morgan says. “It is an honor and a privilege that we get to be part of our community members’ lives, from birth to death. I don’t know of any other business that has that privilege. We get an intimate look into our community and getting to support that every day is unreal,” she says.
For more information, visit fortingage.com.