Houghall Trio Open New Florists

Tue, 2001-04-03 01:00

Three college students have been celebrating the successful opening of a new floristry business.

Gloria Barker, Olga Bartniczak and Hazel Peacock opened the doors to Vintage Rose Florist, located on Front Street in Shotley Bridge, Consett, on Friday 25th November to coincide with Shotley Bridge’s Victorian Christmas Spectacular.

New shop owner Gloria Barker, aged 55 from Shotley Bridge, is currently completing a NPTC Level 2 Diploma in Floristry at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus in Durham.

Gloria Barker said: “I’d had my eye on this property and location for a couple of years, knowing it would be perfect for a floristry business.

“So I was absolutely thrilled to get the shop. People have been knocking on the door before we officially opened so I am sure business will really take off.”

Other local businesses have also been very supportive and have become customers immediately and have made the ladies feel very welcome in the town, many commented that there has been a need for a floristry shop for a good while.

When the opportunity came along Gloria decided to have a complete career change having previously worked for the last 12 years as the Head of IT at Durham Constabulary.

“Coming to Houghall has been so inspirational. I joined Houghall because of its very good reputation for floristry courses and I was impressed by the helpfulness and friendliness of the tutors. The syllabus covered a large range of designs and is a lot of fun,” she said.

“It’s been a move from a high stress job in charge of 60 staff to a dream come true,” Gloria added.

Gloria is thrilled to be employing two assistants at the shop, both of whom have links with the College.

Olga Bartniczak, aged 30, who is originally from Poland, is on the same course as Gloria and Hazel Peacock, aged 53 from Leadgate, was a part-time student at Houghall from 2005 to 2007 – and was named as the College’s Floristry Student of the Year in 2007.

Olga said: “I’m in my second year at Houghall and I love coming in to the College, the people there are so helpful and friendly, I would recommend it to anyone. Working for Gloria is wonderful and I’m so grateful to her for employing me.”

Hazel had run her own successful floristry business until she took early retirement in order to spend more time with her family and grandchildren but has come out of retirement to assist Gloria and Olga during term time.

Sue Lee, a Lecturer in Floristry at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus who is currently teaching Gloria and Olga, said: “I have the upmost admiration for these ladies who after only a few months on the course, found a premises in a perfect position, ideal for a new floristry business, investigated the local area and marketed themselves prior to opening to locals, including the thriving polish community.

“It’s certainly a challenging time for any new business but with the strength, confidence, talent, teamwork and their boundless enthusiasm I am confident they will be very successful.”

East Durham College’s Houghall Campus offer a range of full and part-time floristry courses from Level 1 to Level 3, as well as a number of short courses and masterclass workshops. For more details, please call 0191 375 4710.