BUSINESS

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cathy fenton

Cathy Fenton of Cathy’s Flowers ’N Treasures is celebrating 25 years in business April 1.

Hub Staff

April 1 marks 25 years of blooming business for Cathy Fenton of Cathy’s Flowers ’N Treasures in downtown Port Elgin. The store owner, whose family has owned the historic 683 Goderich Street building for decades, recalled when her grandfather had the building, then three storeys, for his downtown garage. Before the Fentons owned the spot it was known as the American Hotel and was once a silent movie theatre.

Tragedy struck the building in September 1969 when a fire broke out levelling the top story of the building. From there Casual Corners had a stint in the location before Cathy Fenton opened up her flower shop in 1993.

“I can’t believe the growth today compared to what it was like back then,” said Fenton in a March interview. She recalled how the downtown core has changed since the early ’90s while some places remain the same, namely Casual Corners, Lido Gardens and Elgin Jewellers. Fenton remembers opening Cathy’s Flowers ’N Treasures on a busy Easter weekend over two decades ago. “My whole family was here working and helping out,” she said.

When asked how one makes a small business work in Saugeen Shores, Fenton quickly answered that owners have to work the hours. “I had a lot of support from my family which was wonderful,” she said. “It was just me when I first started,” she added.

“Then it was six months to a year before I hired my first person, it was a cousin of mine,” Fenton recalled. “It’s the dedication to your business and the fact that it’s your name going out on everything so everything going out of there has to be quality,” she said. The artist remarked that if a bouquet needs more flowers then she will add them despite the budget, to take pride in what she does.

The business expanded 15 years ago, allowing room for wood-turned products, antiques, crystals, local art, and eventually artifacts from her recent trip to Uganda to fundraise for Dreamshare Uganda. Inside the original spaces lies flowers upon flowers, succulents, garden gnomes and unique accents. With specially crafted items like handmade cards, Canadian chocolate, and purposes made from repurposed fabric samples from Little’s Furniture. “I love having them here because they're one of a kind and I support local artists,” said Fenton.

For online ordering, Fenton uses Teleflora but said she sees more walk-in traffic than online orders, remarking that some people see a style or an arrangement online and ask for her to emulate certain designs and recurring trends.

When she opened her doors in 1993 Fenton said silk flowers “were all the rage” for weddings and that they are making a comeback. “Certain types of flowers were available back then and artificial are coming back in a different style... like artificial succulents, a different type of silk, but everybody is loving them,” she said.

Fenton said that cascades was another returning wedding trend but admitted it was weird to see them come back. “Now it’s all the wild out and down,” she said, admitting, “I never thought I would have the business this long to see recurring trends,” she joked.

The busiest day of the year for Fenton is Mother’s Day with Christmas and Valentine’s Day taking second and third spot. “I was born on Mother’s Day so I’m always working on my birthday,” she quipped.

“The greatest thing about owning your own business is getting to interact with a lot of people,” Fenton said. “I think that if I ever gave up the business I’d have a hard time because I’m so used to being with the public,” said Fenton. “I’m really lucky to be in here in the dead of winter and seeing beautiful tulips in the fridge,” she added.

“I wouldn't hesitate doing it again, I’m going to continue, I have so many ideas in my head that I would love to do. I think Cathy’s will be around for a little while yet,” said Fenton, who was sure to make mention of her “great staff.”

Fenton, who is busy with the changing seasons and Easter weekend, didn’t have time to plan a celebration for 25th anniversary but said anyone can pop in and say, ‘Hello’ and added that once June rolls around she might have a small celebration.

cathys building

The flower shop located at 683 Goderich Street in downtown Port Elgin has been an auto body shop, a clothing store, a silent movie theatre, and a hotel.

flowers

From bouquets and tulips to succulents there is a range of beauty inside the downtown Port Elgin flower shop.

crafts

Cathy’s Flowers ’N Treasures holds more than just flowers, featuring loads of local and Canadian designed products.

delivery van 1993

Cathy Fenton’s first delivery van in the 1990s.

1993

What the interior of the flower shop looked like in 1993.

flower cooler

The cooler at Cathy’s Flowers ’N Treasures, now filled with flowers, as seen during construction in 1993.

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DeCoppel Summer