Debbie Jarvis describes herself as an adventure seeker, a risk-taker.
The 48-year-old owner of Iris and June Floral Boutique in Parksville said she believes that attitude is the base for the best in the business world.
“Isn’t that where the best entrepreneurs come from?” she said.
Jarvis moved to Parksville from Fort St. John about a year ago. While that may have been risk, an adventure, she did have family here and her choice of career was familiar. Jarvis got a job at Flowers by the Sea, an established business that was in Parksville for about 25 years.
In April of this year she took over the space at 155 Morison Avenue as sole proprietor, did some renovations and renamed it Iris and June. Jarvis owned a flower shop in Fort St. John for six years.
She said last week she hasn’t regretted the move to the Island from oil and gas country.
“I have to say, through adversity, Parksville has been really great, a real welcoming community,” Jarvis said as she worked on an arrangement. “I’m very pleased. Parksville has been a blessing. People are genuine here.”
Jarvis sources her flowers from Mt. Newton Floral Wholesale in Saanich. She just got in some long-stem roses that, well, long-stem doesn’t begin to describe them — they are close to two metres tall.
She has also added gelato — Italian ice cream made from milk, not cream and sourced from Salt Spring Island — and also sells vases and some jewelry.
“I needed to diversify; I needed to increase my revenue streams,” said Jarvis. “I spent a lot of time in Europe and I ate a lot of gelato. And the gelato has been a huge hit here.”
Roses continue to be a big seller and in Parksville, so are the succulents, plants like cactus that don’t need much water.
“I would say the succulents are a big deal right now and I’m learning about them.”
Jarvis also has plans to share her knowledge through classes that will show people how to make things like great Christmas centrepieces.
Iris and June is also hooked to the world through FTD — you can send or receive flowers to and from anywhere in the world. That’s a service that’s been declining in popularity in recent years, but Jarvis said she’s noticed it’s still popular in Parksville.
“Not a lot of people use it — the web has taken over so much of that stuff — but we live in a community of elders so it’s used a lot here.”
You can also bring an old vase to Iris and June and Jarvis will take it off your hands and give you some flowers for it.
Iris and June is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 250-954-3627 and/or visit www.irisandjunefloral.com.