Sue Downey is banking on her reputation as a designer with an eye for what’s beautiful and functional to make her new flower business a success.
“People in this area know my work. They know me from other places where I’ve been, including my mom’s shop,” she said.
Downey opened Flowers Forever, Designs by Sue in late November, just in time for the Christmas rush.
Located at 132 Russell St. South near Wellington, the flower and gift shop is the only one in that part of the city. The neighbourhood took notice.
“A lot of people have popped in to welcome me,” said Downey. “I needed a strong start and I got it.”
She borrowed the name for her new business from her mother, Rosie Rolls, long-time owner of a Sarnia flower shop closed some time ago that Rosie called Flowers Forever.
For 15 years, Downey worked in her mom’s shop, designing floral arrangements of all kinds.
“People will remember me from there, so I used the same name,” she said. They may also remember Downey from several other local florists and greenhouses where she worked in the years since, including Kay’s Petal and Plants and Sipkens Nurseries.
Last year, she decided it was time to set out on her own.
“The work I was getting was seasonal or part time and I want to work full time. I also want to order and purchase the products I work with and provide a full service.”
Downey successfully applied to the Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation where she received assistance with a business plan and market survey. The Ontario Self-Employment Benefit program is assisting her financially in the first year of her business.
Downey said she’s learning a great deal about accounting since opening her doors, as well as social media, which she predicts will eventually replace wire services for ordering flowers.
Flowers Forever specializes in fresh and artificial flowers for all occasions.
“And I really love doing weddings and completing a bride’s dream,” said Downey. “I take care of all the details from the table pieces and bouquets, to the church pews and outdoor decorations.”
An open house is planned on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with giveaways and treats by Plain & Fancy Catering.
Store hours are Monday to Friday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Call 519-491-2500.
Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters, featured a couple of weeks ago, is celebrating its new restaurant on Confederation with a number of specials including “Big Mary Mondays,” featuring a four-ounce marinated chicken fillet sandwich on sale for $2.99 every Monday until March 9. Limit two per person. The sandwich normally sells for $5.49.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.