We are pleased to introduce one of our Chamber members, Robin Paisner, owner of Blossoms
What does your business do?
I make fresh fruit and vegetable arrangements that look like
bouquets. They vary in size from small (coffee-mug size) to large. I also make
cakes out of fruit that are iced and decorated with chocolate and whip cream to
look like traditional cakes. As well, I do party favours, fruit boxes and more.
What company or business person most inspires you?
I’ve never sat down and
really thought about it, but oddly enough, I’d say Sam Katz. As a businessman,
he’s a smart man ... in that he wanted a ballpark for the Goldeyes and fought
an uphill battle to get it. Through a sheer force of will, he produced the best
ballpark and fan base around. I also admire Brian Scharfstein of Canadian
Footwear, who convinced me of the value of joining The Chamber, and Gail Asper
of the Asper Foundation.
How did you get the idea for your business or why did you
choose to get involved?
I was in
radio/broadcast for 35 years doing on-air news and sports, but it’s a young
person’s business. In 2009, I decided to go back to university and I got my ESL
certification. I tried teaching part-time, then opted to do a bit of this and
that, including baking. Next, I decided I wanted to own my own business and be
my own boss.
I was on Kijiji and
came across a brief ad for Blossoms. I thought I could do it. The company was
started by two women in New Brunswick, who initially did fruit bouquets as a
hobby. They didn’t actually franchise, choosing instead to provide a licence
agreement, which in my case is a three-year contract. I get to use their
recipes, their logo and they manage the website. It’s a “cookie-cutter”
approach to the business.
What is innovative about your business?
I am able to
customize what I do – probably 90 per cent of what I do is custom work, whether
it’s making substitutions for different fruits, providing sugar-free or
gluten-free chocolate or developing a theme based on the individual’s interests.
the most difficult part of your job?
Being the only person in the shop – I do all the buying, cutting and
other prep work of the fruit; I make the chocolate decorations; I bag and tag
all the products; I update Facebook; I return all the phone calls; I pay all
the bills; and I wash the floors. My husband, who has a full-time job as an
electrical designer, does the deliveries. So it’s hard.
What’s the most important
issue facing our community today?
American franchises and big box stores, as well as e-commerce websites – it’s
killing small business.
Why did you join The Chamber?
I know Brian
Scharfstein from Canadian Footwear and he came in to see me. He suggested I
join The Chamber, but I told him I couldn’t afford to become a member and that
I saw it as an Old Boys’ Club. He sold me on the value, so I said OK … maybe it
would not be such a bad idea.