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Spotlight on: Flower Cart Group

This Spotlight has been shared from our IRP Ecosystem Builder, Common Good Solutions.

Flower Cart Group Refines the Meaning of Impact

Devin loves to work in the bakery making bread. Victoria enjoys her work labelling Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-Op coffee bags. Shelley likes to help local businesses get their new food products to market. Melissa feels good offering her team great benefits. Jeff is proud of the impact the organization has had on its clients, customers and community for over the past 50 years.

The Flower Cart Group (FCG), located in New Minas Nova Scotia, serves persons with disabilities and complex barriers to employment. It has been a social enterprise leader for much of that time while providing an inclusive place and opportunities for clients to realize dreams and work towards goals by providing meaningful vocational programs and real-waged employment. For 53 years now, they have been doing that work from multiple locations in the village having outgrown their initial location due to increased demand for their services.

In November, after a 5-year capital campaign that survived a slowdown during COVID-19, FCG will move into a new home – a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, accessible facility which will bring all of their activities under one roof. It is a space that has been co-developed by its clients and staff to best fit their evolving needs, provide room for enterprise expansion, and result in a significant reduction in operational costs and environmental impact due to the new systems and equipment being installed.

“The dream of a new facility has been long discussed, and now we are on the verge of having that dream become a reality. It’s very exciting for all of us.” Ramona Jennex.

With the bold decision to undertake the new build, CEO Jeff Kelly and the FCG Board decided it was also an opportunity to restructure the organization, move from a stipend to a paid wage strategy, and redefine FCG’s impact with their clients, customers and in the community.

With support from the Investment Readiness program and expertise from Common Good Solutions, the Flower Cart Group has updated their impact measurement practices in four areas: social, customer, operational and financial.

Social impact centers on the positive outcomes for the clients and community. Impacts such as the pride Stephanie and Stephen get from working at their jobs and earning a wage. Customer impact centers on the unique value offered the customers who buy services or products from the Flower Cart Group of enterprises. Like the support Jenna Ross of Nova Scotia Cookies gets when working with Shelley in the commercial kitchen to get her products to market. “As a new small business,” says Ross, “we would not be able to do what we do without their commitment to delivering our product.”

Operational impact centers on such things as providing a supportive workplace and great benefits that makes Client Services Director Melissa so proud.

Financial impacts can be measured both inside and outside the organization and provides great satisfaction to Shawna who tracks the financial goals reached by the organization, and is eager to better understand the economic impact the operations have on the local economy – this year with the added financial spin of building a $6 million dollar facility.

“I am very excited to begin operations in the new facility in October 2023. Our new array of Impact Measures will help us greatly in measuring our success and help us get even better.”
Jeff Kelly

Given what has come before, it is hard to imagine the lasting impact that will be generated by the new facility, expanded programs, and increased reach they will have over the next fifty years.