News Release Archive

When the local florist closed shop in Sherbrooke, Guysborough
County Sylvia Ralph refused to let the business go to seed. She
had wanted to own a small business for many years, so the closure
of the Halifax florist business where she worked gave her the
incentive to take advantage of a golden opportunity.  

Ms. Ralph and husband Kevin McAllister heard about government
agencies supporting small businesses and decided to take
advantage of what was offered. With help from the Guysborough
Development Board and a first step loan from the Nova Scotia
Economic Renewal Agency's community business loans program, Ms.
Ralph designed a dual-pronged business plan aimed at succeeding
in a rural community. 

Ms. Ralph based her plans for Petals & Pins on her two areas of
expertise; her knowledge of the flower shop business and her
ability as a seamstress. The two complement each other perfectly,
sewing manufacturing planned to take over at times of the year
when business at the flower shop is slow.

The first step loan bought flower shop equipment such as a walk-
in cooler and helped with necessary renovations. "Fred Tibbett
[from the Economic Renewal Agency] was good to deal with - very
supportive," said Mr. McAllister. "Things went smoothly with
Economic Renewal; they were very professional," he added.

The flower shop side of Petals & Pins opened in early November
and sales are going well. "Everything is going according to
plan," said Ms. Ralph. The next stage in that plan is pending a
manufacturing application to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities
Agency. She hopes to make outerwear, jackets, coats and
maybe a specialty line of clothing.

This is just the initial phase, Mr. McAllister said. The flower
shop alone provides employment for Sylvia and with the
addition of the sewing side of the business, she will probably
need at least part time help. "If the sewing side gets into a
line of manufacturing, it will probably need more," he said.

"Ms. Ralph developed a business plan to keep her Sherbrooke store
busy year round. With help from a first step loan, she could
achieve that and create local employment into the bargain,"
Economic Renewal Minister Ross Bragg said.

By "tacking" two types of business together, Petals and Pins
features the diversity and creativity necessary for a small
business to blossom in rural Nova Scotia.
Contact:  Joe Cottreau, 902-424-3970
lm                                   January 19, 1995