The Honeysuckle Garden Centre changed hands and had a grand opening on May 1 this year.
New owners Jeanette Cayanga and Derek Hill, a couple from Thunder Bay, Ontario moved to Burns Lake late last year and ended up buying the property and the business from former owner Leanne Miranda and Beverly.
Last week, they held an open-house and grand opening, with donuts, coffee and hot dogs. The opening day saw more than 300 visitors throughout the day.
“People here are very considerate of rules and of others. People trickled in all through the day, maintaining their distance, wearing masks and being extremely supportive,” said Cayanga.
“It was a really nice opening. Happy people came in and it was very successful!”
Cayanga’s husband Hill, who works with the pipeline, lived in Houston since 2019 and Cayanga would travel and visit once a month from Ontario. However, the travel started getting taxing and once COVID hit, it became even more difficult. That’s when Cayanga decided to move to Northern B.C. with her 10 year-old daughter, Arianna.
“One day we went out to find a small property to park our camper and this is what we came home with. My husband came home one day saying I have a job for you. I thought he was joking!” said Cayanga, who was a healthcare worker in Ontario.
Cayanga had a garden on Ontario and she would grow vegetables but nothing on this scale.
“I was raised on a farm but it is still new for me especially growing flowers and selling them. I used to grow flowers for my house but this is different. I am now learning more variety,” she said.
Cayanga’s oldest daughter, Annika, designed all the graphics for the garden centre and she also has a son, RJay, both of whom live out of province.
Being new to gardening on such a large scale, part of the purchase agreement has Miranda showing the ropes of the garden centre to Cayanga for three hours every day.
“It has been good. I think we are handing it over to hard-working, good hands. It is different when it is not your own business anymore but she has done a really good job and the plants are looking fabulous this year,” said Miranda. “It is bittersweet, I suppose.”
This business has been around for 25 years. It was started eight years prior to that by a woman named Sherry Flemming, across the lake near the Takysie Lake area and Miranda’s mom bought into it. The two then became partners and moved the business to where it is now located. Miranda has been part of the business for roughly 18 years.
“It is a lot of hard-work but a great job to have. Generally people come here and they are happy, friendly. You don’t get too many grumpy people in the greenhouse,” she said.
Cayanga is now striving to ensure that the community gets the same level of high-quality service they had been so used to with the former owners.
“Everything they have put in for 25 years, I want to continue their legacy. While I will try to introduce small new changes to keep the business relevant, when it comes to the high-quality, good customer service, nothing will change and I will make sure people continuing getting what they used to enjoy here,” she said.
Cayanga, who was a nutritionist and dietician back in Ontario, understands the value of good, organic food and will be starting vegetable planting by the end of this month. She then plans to sell the vegetables at the local farmer’s market.