Our city is home to so many incredible businesses and so we asked the founders how they came up with the ideas for their businesses and have shared their responses below.

Aleya Lanteigne | Artist | Craftswoman | Woodworker & Co-Founder of Cumulus Cooperative

I’ve been fortunate to use the past few months in quarantine as a way to reflect on my art practice: what it means to me, and where I want it to go. In November I launched an online craft market for handmade goods and unique art with two of my closest friends. For the past year, it has been difficult to feel connected to these friends and other artists/makers. We decided to start Cumulus Cooperative to keep in touch, exchange ideas, and work across disciplines. We’re excited to collaborate with more artists and continue the legacy of craft with community and thoughtful objects. Read more>>

Aleta Barthell | Founder of Kids Act/Teaching Artist/Playwright

When I was a kid. I got a part as a bunny in a play at our community college. I was so excited! I had it all figured out what this bunny would do and say. However, when I arrived for the first rehearsal, I learned that the bunny wasn’t supposed to talk…in fact it wasn’t going to really be seen much. Talk about disappointment! When I decided to start my own youth education program, Kids Act, I remembered this experience. I decided to build a program where students could manifest their talents and abilities through the joy of creative expression—and create their own characters! I used my own training and education as an actor to create the program. I also used techniques that I learned from working one-on-one with youth-at-risk in a program called, The Haven Project. My skills as a playwright also certainly come into use to help students form their original plays. Read more>>

Cynthia Fernandez | Founder of Florencia Florals

My grandmother who raised me passed away on September 8 2019 from stage 4 cancer. She was diagnosed around my birthday, and after she finished her radiation, her health began to deteriorate drastically, 2019 was a really rough year for me and my family. Growing up my grandma, Adela Florencia, taught me so much about flowers and plants. When she moved to the US from Cuba in 1962 with my grandfather, she made sure that when they were able to afford a house, that it had a big back yard so that she could build a beautiful garden. I grew up spending so much time with her in that garden, and I truly cherish every story she shared with me as she potted a new plant or pruned the roses. The day of her funeral, I stayed up until 3am rearranging all of the flowers we received from friends and family, it was a way for me to cope with her loss. I quickly found out how much peace flowers brought me, and how as a creative individual they brought me so much joy. After a few months had gone by, I decided to start my own floral business in January 2020 from my garage and named it Florencia after my grandma. Read more>>