Alison Westlake is a Toronto girl who found not just a dream but a passion here in The County. In 2009 she had opened a small flower shop Coriander Girl in the city with the support of her future husband, a native of Prince Edward County. After many visits to his parents here, the city-loving girl began to fall for the County and the couple made the decision to make the big move and start a new family life. Not long after settling in, they talking their baby for a walk in downtown Picton, pushing the stroller and window shopping, when Alison saw a For Lease sign on a good-looking vacant building.
She’d always thought about expanding her business to The County at some point – but there was no concrete plan. In fact, she was still commuting to Toronto to manage that store. But, feeling the thrill of possibility, she went online to find out more about the building on Main Street and found it was a private sale. Her expansion plans began to solidify when the owners proved flexible on allowing her a longer closing time. “They were really influential in my making the transition, just by giving me time to get all my ducks in a row,” she says.
With help from family members, including her handyman father, she renovated the building, stripping away drywall and plaster to expose original brick and ripping up four layers of flooring to find beautiful wide-plank floors. It wasn’t essential work, but it was important to Alison to ensure every detail of her dream came to life. Aesthetics and beauty and style are part of her business. Like many other new businesses in the County, Alison gives a lot of credit for her launch success to support from Prince Edward Lennox & Addington Community Futures Development Corporation (PELA & CFDC) . Both her Coriander Girl shops stands out because she strives to support local growers. “Flowers usually travel the world by plane or train before they reach a typical grocery store aisle, I wanted something different,” she says. Flowers by Alison are what you might grow in your own garden or greenhouse if you were very, very good at it – or employed a world-class gardener! There are many blooms that customers have never seen before and don’t realize are grown in their community
Alison has recently purchased property that includes a heritage farm house, a church and many acres of land. The dream is growing strong and includes expansion plans for a small wedding and floral business. With her ducks in a row, she’ll be working on that project this year. To see her her pretty flowers, her fine little County shop and a glimpse of a dream come true, drop by Coriander Girl on Main Street, Picton.
For startups or businesses looking to expand or re-locate to The County, you can fill out this Business Inquiry Questionnaire, and the Community Development Department will respond in 48 hours.