Toronto florist that's a neighbourhood favourite is asking for help to survive
Ron Rudnicki had big plans for their neighbourhood flower shop at Dufferin and Dundas West to not only be a go-to spot for floral bouquets and plants, but also a queer collective to uplift local artists.
But more recently, they've had to turn to the community to make sure they'll still be able to realize that dream.
"With a lot of startup company experience, Ron was confident that they could effectively run a shop while also focusing on their passion for floristry," reads the GoFundMe started this past Saturday. "But unfortunately the pandemic has contradicted every plan put forward."
Heavy Petal opened at 1489 Dundas Street West last August and sells customized micro bouquets, which are popular in Japan and Korea, where Rudnicki spent some time training in Seoul as a florist.
There's also a collection of pieces like print-out illustrations, pins, and plant vases and pots, from local, and primarily queer, artists Rudnicki's discovered.
Although the flower shop was able to turn a profit over the summer last year, sales took a hit with the first lockdown in November. And since Rudnicki registered the business in March 2020, they haven't been eligible for any sort of pandemic-related financial support.
Rudnicki, who describes themselves as genderfluid, queer, traumatized, disabled powerhouse living with complex PTSD, OCD and fibromyalgia on the fundraiser page, says their health has also been a huge barrier.
"This intersection of mental health and family crises and stay-at-home orders has just completely destroyed me," Rudnicki told blogTO. "I want to see my dreams for the shop fulfilled and not be stuck because of all of this."
While trying to keep the business afloat, Rudnicki has also been attending trauma therapy at CAMH under their Trauma Stream program to heal from multiple instances of sexual violence and abuse from a young age.
With a goal set of $22,500, funds donated will be going toward repaying debts built up since last March, covering medical treatments, employment of a PSW and shop manager to help get the shop off the ground, and ongoing rent and renovations.
"I love my community very much and they've saved me many times," Rudnicki says. "I appreciate it with every fiber of my being."
"This shop is my baby and I really want to see it succeed in a way that I can uplift other artists and queers in the community. Especially for queer artists, chosen family is such an important concept, and what's really been helping me survive."
Join the conversation Load comments