Bloom’s Flower Shop owner recognized for small business perseverance and success
ALBION – After working in the banking industry for a decade, Deborah London made a big career change 17 ½ years ago when she bought Bloom’s Flower Shop.
London was an assistant vice president in escrow operations for Anchor Bank in Albion. She stayed there when Anchor was acquired by Dime Bank and then North American Mortgage. Her job was eliminated in a downsizing by Washington Mutual.
The timing was good. Lorraine and Gary Oakley were looking to sell Bloom’s. London didn’t want a banking job in the city. She took on the challenge at Bloom’s and has enjoyed meeting so many community members since then.
“You get to work with people all the time,” she said. “When you’re in an office at a desk, you don’t get that.”
London is being recognized by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce this evening during the annual awards dinner as the “Business Person of the Year.” She deserves praise for keeping Bloom’s open during a time when larger businesses are getting more involved in selling flowers, the Chamber said.
Since she bought Bloom’s she has endured the road reconstruction on Routes 98 and 31, the addition of Tops and Wal-Mart in Albion, and the recession in 2008-09.
Last year was difficult when her home was damaged in a fire on Feb. 2, 2016, right before Valentine’s Day, one of the shop’s busiest times of the year. Debbie and her husband Brian insisted on staying in Albion and having their home repaired on West Park Street. It was six months before then could move back in.
London has embraced e-commerce, taking orders through her website (click here). That has been a boost.
But London said the biggest factor for the business’s success is the face-to-face with customers, ensuring they get a fresh product that is sensitive to the occasion.
“Everybody likes flowers,” she said.
She sells chocolates and greeting cards, but flowers are the focus at Bloom’s.
London can call on friends and family to pitch in during a busy season, whether the prom, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, dance recitals or Christmas. Her husband Brian has been more than willing to make deliveries. He also runs his own electrician’s business and works as a fly fishing guide.
“It’s really a team effort between the two of us,” Debbie said.
Wes Hansen has worked at Bloom’s for 22 years. He said London does a great job managing the business.
“She is very well organized,” Hansen said. “She likes lists. I have to have an organized person.”