Judy McNamara wants you to come in and feel like family, and for the past 25 years her family has left its mark on Clifton. You may have seen A Flower Blooms In Clifton, the Main Street Pub and Clifton Store at 7140 Main St.
""There's always a McNamara on this property, from when we open at 8 a.m. until we close at midnight. That's my rule - end of discussion," said Judy to Patch. "If you don't put in the time you can't be a success."
Filling the weekly work schedule shouldn't be too difficult. Judy, who lives two blocks away with her husband Tom, runs the flower shop; her son Sean is the general manager; daughter Katie is the kitchen manager and son Kevin is the bar manager.
"Last year was our biggest year since opening in 2008," said Sean McNamara to Patch recently. "We have consistently seen 20 percent growth every year, but last year it was 30 percent."
McNamara hopes to see more businesses along Clifton's Main Street. "There's a half-hour wait on Friday and Saturday night, generally, and more businesses would mean that we'd all feed off each other. It would be awesome."
Owning a Business: It's in the Blood
Judy's parents James and Connie Widener owned a furnace and chimney cleaning business in the 1950s and '60s. Their philosophy: Never work for anyone.
"Before my mother died (in 1992) she told me: 'Your father would just be thrilled that you're doing this,'" said Judy. "That was our thing. You worked six days a week. There was no five-day work week."
Judy and Tom met at the University of Maryland and have been married for 40 years. She spent nearly 20 years as a nurse, and he worked as a store designer at JC Penney before the couple opened A Flower Blooms in Clifton in 1988. The following year, Tom retired and started working at the flower shop full-time. They bought the General Store in 1989, and the pub opened in the summer of 2008.
"Clifton didn't have a flower shop, and I said 'If I can learn to be a nurse I can learn to run a flower shop,' " said Judy. "I had never done this before in my life, but I'm a believer that we need to learn one thing every day. If you believe in yourself, you can do it. It really is that simple. If you want to do it then do it."
The McNamara work ethic runs deep. "All of us growing up — if you were hungry, you better cook the food yourself. So, we all got to learn to be short-order cooks," said 29-year-old Kevin McNamara. "There are no sick days, no paid vacation days. I'll have the worst fever in the world and still show up for work."
Which business is the most successful of the three?
"It's interesting," said Judy. "The spring and summer months for the pub are huge. But the flower shop - I carry the winter months with Christmas and Valentine's Day and every weekend from April through June is booked for weddings."
You can look forward to seeing Judy McNamara for years to come. "I'll never retire," she said. "I'd be so bored I wouldn't know what to do. It's not like I have a beach house somewhere."
The Main Street Pub and Clifton General Store are open 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday - Wednesday and until midnight Thursday - Saturday. A Flower Blooms is open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.