Love of grandmoms brought pair together as entrepreneurs

By Melissa Hirschl

Call it fate, serendipity or karma, but some benevolent force of the universe had a delightful surprise in mind for East Valley entrepreneurs Marcia McGovern and Theresa Snider.

For starters, their paths recently crossed as friends and former business partners. Sweetening the reunion was the fact that both started businesses inspired from a love of their grandmothers. For both, these gentle and devoted women provided the foundation for their current flourishing businesses.

Snider is the owner of Clare’s Heart, a home furnishings boutique in Tempe. McGovern runs a home-based business called Bouquet of Blessings out of her home in Mesa, featuring such items as lifelike flower pins that she sells at specialty stores such as Abbey Gardens.

The two women once were consultants for Southern Living, a home-based party enterprise specializing in home accents. Recently they caught up with each other and discovered they had a much deeper and more meaningful bond: the grandmothers who shaped their lives and instilled the greatest gifts any entrepreneur could hope for, self acceptance and an ultimate “can-do” attitude. 

The following interview reflects the intense role Snider’s grandmother played in the development of her personal life and business.

WN: Tell me about your grandmother—what influence did she have on you growing up??

Snider: “My grandmother, who was the matriarch of the family, was a great grandmother who had five children. I have marvelous memories of summers spent with her here and also in California where she lived for a while. The great thing about her is that she loved us unconditionally and she really let us be kids. We went horseback riding at her home which was so much fun. She taught us to can food and even to fish. She loved everyone and everyone was welcome at her home; didn’t matter what her house was like. She adored my kids and never yelled at anyone for making a mess.

WN: How did your grandmother make you feel about yourself? 

Snider: My grandmother was extremely supportive of me—everything I said was funny and brilliant. That’s just the way she made me feel. When I became a mother, I really appreciated her unconditional love and compassion for me. My grandmother was the religious spirit in our family and all throughout my childhood she kept us all connected to God.

WN: What impact did her death have on you and your family?

Snider: “We didn’t really realize what a loss it was ‘til after she died. I felt like I was her favorite, but if you asked any other grandchild, they would say the same thing. 

My boys, who were five and seven when she died, were devastated. It wasn’t the quantity of the time but the quality. She made them feel so special, like she did with me. We never really recovered from her death; that’s the kind of impact she made on her life. My pastor put it in perspective by saying ‘isn’t it wonderful to have someone in your life that can cause you so much pain?’ He reminded me of how lucky I was to have had her in my life, even though the hurt will always be there.”

WN: How did your grandmother influence your business?

Snider: “When my daughter Kaylee Clare was 10, we were taking a drive and I told her I was thinking about opening some kind of store, and that we’d have to come up with a name. 

Out of the blue she said, ‘Why don’t we name it Clare?’ There’s already a Clare’s boutique at the mall, so I said, ‘How about Clare’s Heart?’ Even though she never met my grandmother (Nelle Clare), I knew it meant something and that the store was meant to be. I never looked back; once we got the name for the store, we just went full steam ahead.” 

Clare’s Heart is at 1840 E. Warner Road, Suite C-5, Tempe. 

You’ll find candles, whimsical wind chimes, decorative glass and silver canisters, jewelry and unusual clothing, such as the Classy Rags line of baby clothes.