What’s your connection to Brimbank?
I’ve lived in Sunshine for 38 years and I’ve been a florist for 36 years. I’ve always liked the people. I still really like the people of Sunshine and that’s what’s kept me around all these years. Most of the people I’ve known over the years still live in the area.
You’ve seen a lot of development in Sunshine over those three decades. Has it all been a good thing?
I’m not sure. The first round of beautification work that was done in the early 1990s was amazing, however the latest works which began about two years ago aren’t even comparable. But time doesn’t stand still and what has happened with the council building and the train station is absolutely amazing.
What can be done to improve the area?
There’s too many restaurants in the area. I’d love to see us bring in some more shops, rather than places to eat. As a business owner I’ve found that people don’t really come down here to do their shopping, they come here to eat. If we had more options for shopping down here it could encourage the growth of local businesses.
You obviously love what you do, what drew you to becoming a florist?
I studied law before I came here, but I realised it would’ve been wrong to be a criminal lawyer, so I decided to become a florist when I migrated. I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s pretty tough at the moment and causes a lot of heartache and tears, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Your business has endured the test of time. What’s your key to success?
I’m actually thinking a lot about moving my business to one from home. I have to fight for my survival. I’m not ready to retire, but I might have to leave here and work from home – that’s how bad it is. I love the restaurants and the people who live in Sunshine, but business is tough. The whole situation with the move to the internet has changed the way things are done and that’s not just in Sunshine.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?
I’d tell them to think about it very seriously before they do anything. I’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go over the years and it has the potential to ruin your life. It’s a lot of hard work, but there’s also strong reward if you get it right.
As someone who has spent their life in Sunshine, what are your thoughts on persistent stigma surrounding the suburb?
If people rubbish Sunshine for drinking and drugs, I’d like to ask them where that sort of thing isn’t happening. I love this area and I love the people here. I have since I moved here and that’s a large reason why I stayed.