By IRENE SEIBERLING
It’s all in the family and Petra Janssen wouldn’t have it any other way.
Janssen started Wascana Flower Shoppe 30 years ago as a keen 21-year-old entrepreneur. At the time, her family didn’t share her passion for the business. Over time, they all got hooked.
Today, the popular Regina flower shop employs three generations of Janssen’s family. And come July, a fourth generation is expected to make a daily appearance.
It’s such a unique situation, because we’re all here, Janssen said with a smile.
What more could you want? I work with flowers every day. I work with my daughter, my mother, my daughter-in-law and my husband. And I will have my grandchild here, she beamed.
If I had to write a fairy-tale book, that is what would be in it, Janssen insisted.
I started the flower shop because my parents had a greenhouse operation. And they were growing cut flowers at that time, and they needed a retail outlet for their cut flowers, Janssen explained.
It didn’t take long five or six years and my dad couldn’t supply the volume that we were doing. So he eventually stopped growing cut flowers. Energy costs, all those things, made it difficult to make it competitive. Her flower shop business grew from there. Each family member has their own unique role at Wascana Flower Shoppe, so they’re not competing with each other, Janssen explained.
For example, her mother, Erika Wefel, loves arranging flowers. At first, she helped out at the flower shop only when she wasn’t busy running Wascana Greenhouse with her husband.
When they sold the greenhouse business and retired about three years ago, Wefel decided to pursue her second passion, and she’s been coming to work at her daughter’s flower shop ever since.
She comes in every day, Janssen pointed out. She’s going to be 79 years old this year, but she comes in from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. And when we’re busy, she just stays. She just loves it here.
Janssen’s daughter, Tanya Anderson, has grown up in the flower shop. She’s been a regular there since she was six days old her first day out of the hospital.
So she came right from the beginning, Janssen said.
It’s different, she insisted. When you have your own business and you have staff, you can stop if the baby’s crying and hold it.
Not only that. At that time, there were only five staff members. Tanya had five moms, ’cause if I couldn’t hold her, someone else could, Janssen pointed out.
Even as a pre-schooler, Tanya was determined to pitch in and help at her mom’s flower shop.
When she was three, one day she pulled up the step ladder, got herself a vase, went into the bucket, got herself the foam, put the foam in the vase and started arranging flowers, Janssen said.
At that point in time I realized I’d better send her to daycare or she won’t know how to play. She’ll think all there is in life is arranging flowers.
Did we know that Tanya would come back to the store? Her whole life we knew that.
Anderson went to boarding school, at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, then to university, where she got a degree in mind sciences, specializing in Alzheimer’s research.
But she already knew when she left Notre Dame that she wanted to work at the flower shop, Janssen said.
But not wanting her daughter to regret the decision down the road and feel she’d missed out on things, Janssen insisted she go to university and explore other interests.
But by about the age of 22, Anderson was back at her mom’s flower shop. And she appears wellrooted there.
Now expecting her first child, 28-year-old Anderson will be bringing her baby to work with her just like her mom did with her.
Anderson is currently Wascana Flower Shoppe’s head designer. She’s amazing! her proud mother said. Janssen’s 25-year-old daughter-in-law, Laurissa Janssen, is the techie in the group, handling the business’s website, Facebook and Twitter. She’s also a wedding designer.
She is going to take over when Tanya can’t reach the bouquets anymore, Janssen said.
My poor son has lost another woman to this business, she laughed.
When he’s not farming, Janssen’s husband, Ewald Janssen, works in the flower shop’s office. He does the accounting, Janssen said, admitting he doesn’t love it as much as we do.
Even her son and son-in-law who both have full-time jobs help out at the flower shop if needed, such as making deliveries. You don’t get that very often, Janssen said. Janssen admitted that, although unfair, she expects much more from family members than regular staff. For Mother’s Day, for example, she would expect them to work right by her side for 12 to 14 hours a day.
We work together for a common goal, she said.
As she awaits the July arrival of her first grandchild, Janssen, a self-proclaimed workaholic admitted: I thought I was going to be the world’s worst grandma because I have no time.
But to have the opportunity that the baby will be here, I think I will be the best grandma. I could not ask for a better gift than to have my grandchild here, Janssen said.
Working with family, admittedly, isn’t for everyone. But for Janssen it’s the perfect work environment.
Picture at Right: Wascana Flower Shoppe is staffed by family. Shown here are Petra Janssen (left), Tanya Anderson (Janssen Class of 2000), Laurissa Janssen, Erika Wefel and Ewald Janssen. Picture Courtesy Don Healy – Regina Leader Post
Tanya was a four year Hound that was active in all aspects of the Notre Dame community during her time here. She participated in soccer, basketball and rugby and was active in all aspect of student leadership.
Tanya is very generous with her time and gifts and Notre Dame is honoured that her hands & her special touch is involved in all of our needs from Wascana Flower Shop. Notre Dame is incredibly proud that one of our own Hounds chooses and arranges all of the flowers that we purchase for our special events.