Maria Lagunas is not afraid of a challenge.
Neither are the other Adult Studies students at Trinity. Most work full- or part-time jobs and many raise families while enrolled in the accelerated degree programs.
Lagunas, who graduated from the Adult Studies Business program in December of 2008, still works the same full-time job at Banner & Witcoff, LTD., the law firm where she was employed while completing her bachelor’s degree. But now she also runs her own business—Gardenia, a flower and gift shop in her hometown of Blue Island, Illinois.
“I got the idea when I was in the business program at Trinity, and when I graduated, I knew that I had the tools to move forward,” she said.
“Moving forward” was more like “full speed ahead.” In addition to her full-time job, Lagunas had been using her long-time hobby of party planning and flower arranging to do side work at Evita’s Bridal in Blue Island. In July of 2009, the tenant next to the bridal shop moved out, and Lagunus found herself faced with a challenging opportunity—opening her own store.
“It happened so fast,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to open a business, but I went for it.”
Her Trinity education kicked into high gear as she spent the next month writing a business plan for the shop, then acquiring the space and renovating and moving in with the help of her family. By September 12, Lagunas was celebrating the grand opening.
Lagunas“I knew exactly what I was doing throughout the process,” she said. “That confidence and knowledge stemmed from my education in accounting, management, and marketing. What I had learned in the Adult Studies program had become second nature.”
Students in the program work in groups called cohorts, and Lagunas keeps in touch with the friends she made at Trinity.
“Our cohort was like a family,” she said. Some of her Adult Studies “family” attended the opening of her business.
Gardenia Flowers, gifts and more is located at 12822 Western Avenue in Blue Island. Lagunas also used her creativity and business sense to design her logo, business cards, and her website. Visit: www.gardeniaflowersandgifts.com.