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New flower shop carries on a 50-year business tradition

Cathy Dobson Sarnia’s Paulina Dillon is all about new trends and fresh approaches, but she also honours tradition. Her front counter at the new Paulina’s Flower Shoppe is a good example.
Paulina Dillon at the new Paulina’s Flower Shoppe on Murphy Road. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Sarnia’s Paulina Dillon is all about new trends and fresh approaches, but she also honours tradition.

Her front counter at the new Paulina’s Flower Shoppe is a good example.

It displays funky new cards and jewelry and a few unique arrangements, alongside an info board explaining her shop was home to Buchner’s Flowers for 50 years.

For decades, John and Evelyn Buchner operated their successful floral business at 1018 Murphy Rd.

“I remember driving by when I was a little girl and seeing the yellow bicycle by the road,” said Dillon who is in her mid-30s.

When the Buchners decided to sell their shop earlier this year Dillon bought the building and renovated it. She opened six weeks later, just before Mother’s Day.

“I wanted to make a big statement when I opened,” Dillon said. “I’ve made this shop my own, with my designs and my ideas. I am attracting new customers of my own but I’m also serving the Buchner’s customers as well.

“I feel quite privileged to be in this place because it’s part of Sarnia’s past,” she said. “There’s a history here. I appreciate the road the Buchners paved.”

The rebranded shop has bright colours, a natural wood ceiling, new flooring and new light fixtures. It offers fresh flower arrangements for all occasions and in all price ranges, starting at $20, but also a wide variety of trendy gifts and vases.

“Before I bought, I researched what people want, what is current and in demand,” Dillon said. “My designs are more organic, more rustic. I have a lot of air plants (that require no soil) and succulents.”

In one corner, she sells various sizes of terrariums full of sand and shells, cacti and succulents. There’s a Terrarium Scoop Bar where scoops of moss, sand, rocks and shells are available for $2 each. Do-it-your-selfers can create their own terrarium with succulents for as little as $20. Larger ones run closer to $75. Dillon also has pre-arranged terrariums in a wide price range.

Other gift ideas include Vintage Variations by Lindsay MacKenzie of Sarnia, who produces handcrafted fine silver jewelry. There are hand-poured soy candles and throw pillows.

One table displays a unique line of beaded necklaces, earrings and bracelets from “Just One,” a company distributing jewelry handmade by former child soldiers in Africa.

Dillon, who earned her certification eight years ago from the Canadian Institute of Floral Design in Toronto, says she works within any budget.

She’s also built a consultation area for weddings at the back of her shop.

For more about Paulina’s Flower Shoppe at 1018 Murphy Rd., visit or call 519-542-7273.  She’s also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Applications from would-be entrepreneurs are being accepted until Aug. 4 by the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation (SLBDC), for two chances to win a free storefront for one year.

The best candidates have executable business plans, says SLBDC general manager Don Anderson. “We’ll work with them on it to get their business started.

“Entrepreneurship is a good alternative and some folks see it as their future,” he said.

A hand-up like free space can jumpstart a young person’s business dream, convince an experienced worker to leave a job they don’t enjoy or expand a home-based business, said Anderson.

Two spaces are available; one in Sarnia and one in Forest. Interested competitors must complete a simple application to pitch their idea, and may also submit a short video introducing themselves and their idea.

Semi-finalists will receive one-on-one coaching to help them launch their new businesses.

Anderson said the WIN This Space concept has proven successful in neighbouring Huron County and the Peterborough area.

“A number of those spaces are still being used after the free year,” he said.

The SLBDC is hosting an open house at 109 Durand St. on Tuesday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. to provide details about the new entrepreneurial program. Project partners willing to support the program through sponsorship or professional services are also asked to contact the SLBDC at 519-383-1371.

Got an interesting business story?  Contact [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.

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