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Behind The Business with Jane Eksten & Sharon Runnalls

by | Oct 12, 2022

Jane Eksten and Sharon Runnalls have a shared vision when it comes to their business Branching Out Florists. The boutique floral shop in Downtown Port Perry offers fresh flowers for all occasions and custom bouquets for any need.

Friends First

Jane and Sharon have been best friends for over than 40 years. The duo met while in high school and later worked together in a different flower shop, spending shifts daydreaming about owning their own floral business one day. When the opportunity came up to purchase the already established florist Branching Out, they knew it was time to take it to the next level using their different strengths.

Sharon comes from the banking world, while Jane brings a graphic design background to the table. Since taking over Branching Out, Jane and Sharon have given the business a new life and identity that will continue to take the business forward for years to come.

The Unpredictable

In the floral business, every day is different. From birthdays and weddings to celebrations of life and holidays — it can be very unpredictable. Floral needs also change from year to year, which can be a challenge when you’re basing a lot of decisions on the past. Traditionally, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day are the busiest for the floral shop. Located just off the main street they also get a lot of regular walk-in traffic; but having a dedicated, diverse, and creative staff certainly helps the place run smoothly and the customers loyal.

Jane and Sharon balance each other out and after four decades of friendship, there are no surprises. The two friends and business partners know how the other thinks and operates, which has allowed them to manage the unexpected. They have a 24-hour rule that helps them carry on their relationship harmoniously. The rule gives them 24 hours to think over any decisions so they can reconvene with a calmer more practical perspective. 

Find a Niche

Local loves local is a concept the ladies live and operate their business by. Their Taste of Port Perry Basket is proof of how they have successfully collaborated locally, bringing together several complimentary items from Scugog businesses. 

Redefining who they want to be and how they want to make changes with their business has been a happy challenge for Jane and Sharon. They both want to develop signature designs that can be featured on the Branching Out website. Building their own library of offerings is taking a bit of time but has been extremely rewarding for the business.

Jane and Sharon also collaborate with local businesses on good causes. This past Valentine’s Day they worked with Dana’s Goldsmithing to bring some cheer with flowers to seniors at the local retirement homes.

Behind The Scenes

Jane and Sharon are aware of the draw of Downtown Port Perry and the benefit it has on their business. They see so many lovely repeat customers from all over the region. The unique experiences found in Port Perry cannot be replicated anywhere else and that’s something they recognized when deciding to take over a floral shop. Jane and Sharon recommend doing a bit of homework before determining where to open a business, as the location has endless advantages.

Both Jane and Sharon credit their mothers for their excellent work ethic. Having a mentor that can drive you and help you figure out what you’re capable of is crucial to success. One of the first steps in starting a business is finding someone that you can look to for guidance that can push you to be your best.

Fun Fact: Branching Out is an environmentally conscious business, ensuring all foliage goes in green bins!


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