Toronto florist that asked for help to survive is now permanently closing its doors
After asking the community for help to survive for months, a queer-run florist in Toronto is sadly now calling it quits.
Heavy Petal owner Ron Rudnicki had started up a GoFundMe in June 2021 for the business which had just been registered in March 2020.
Rudnicki, who identifies as genderfluid, queer, traumatized and disabled, had said they really wanted to see the shop succeed, and didn't want to be "stuck because of all this," referring to lockdowns and other barriers most small businesses have faced recently.
"After a number of hospital visits and the constant stress of running a sole proprietorship, in debt, alone, while actively triggered about unresolved CPTSD, it is no longer survivable for the shop, or myself as a human being," reads a social media post announcing the shop's closing.
The announcement continues to say that though running the shop has been stressful, it's been one of the best times of Rudnicki's life, though they need to refocus on their mental health at this time. They say how they loved making bouquets for top surgery recovery and both gay and straight weddings.
They're in communication with the landlord about how to proceed, and there should be updates on storage and liquidation of goods.
"Landlord wants all outstanding rent and to continue charging me for oncoming months while he's without a tenant, while I am trying to figure out stuff for ODSP," Rudnicki tells blogTO.
"I'm currently trying to find another boutique where I can bring over my clients and work part time, while focusing on some therapy through crisis care."
There are plans to hopefully continue doing events in the future and try a coop model with other florists and artists that never had a chance to become a reality.
"The business was beginning to really take off but my landlord is putting pressure on me to immediately pay back over $10K in back rent and wasn't willing to work out a payment plan because he was already working with me by allowing me to pay 50 per cent rent for half of the pandemic," says Rudnicki.
"Either way I can't afford the back rent so I'm going to try to liquidate some things, and store some others, by the end of this month."
An update to the GoFundMe made on Oct. 6 says Heavy Petal currently owes back rent on eight months of payments, an estimated $10,000, not including $1,022 owed for hydro and $256 owed for internet. The update also says Rudnicki has been selling off personal items to keep paying rent at 50 per cent.
Since being created in June, the GoFundMe only raised $3,789 of its $17,500 goal from 58 donors.
"I'm going to be moving a bunch of stuff out this weekend, but will be open the following week with my last day as Oct. 31, basically just to raise funds and liquidate features towards the debt," says Rudnicki.
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