Former soldier marches into new business in Tayside

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A former Black Watch soldier that served in Afghanistan and Iraq has joined forces with his florist wife to open a flower shop.

John Maestri and his wife Audrey fell in love with Perth after John was stationed in the city, and when he retired from the military last year, the couple decided to utilise Audrey’s floristry skills.

With support from Business Gateway, John and Audrey originally from Airdrie, will open The Rose House, within McEwen’s of Perth, on Monday, 14th April, selling traditional and contemporary floral arrangements.

John, 43, said: “Business Gateway has been instrumental in us opening The Rose House. Although we have been planning this for a while, as we always thought we could take advantage of Audrey’s career once I left the army, the expert advice and free courses on offer by Business Gateway gave me the confidence and enthusiasm to proceed.”

John was a member of the Black Watch and consequently the Royal Regiment of Scotland for 24 years and is confident his new venture will prove just as successful. With weddings already secured for later this year and fantastic support from his friends within the military community, he believes that along with Audrey’s experience they will fill a gap in the market in the area.

He added: “The feedback so far has been wonderful and we’re extremely grateful to our friends and the local people for welcoming our business to the town centre. It can be difficult for people when they leave the military but I’m very excited about our business and the new opportunities it will bring. We didn’t want to leave Perth so working with McEwen’s has been the perfect solution.

“Running a florist is completely different to what I’m used to but Audrey’s experience is vast and together I’m confident we can offer Perth a high-end flower shop with an emphasis on design and quality. As well as confirmed bookings for summer weddings, we are beginning to get a lot of interest from people wanting to order flowers and arrangements for special events which is encouraging.”

Andrew Webster, Business Adviser, Business Gateway said: “John and Audrey are embarking on a new venture and we are delighted to support them. As well as one-to-one advice on a range of issues effecting starting a business, we have assisted them with their business plan, finding premises and how to access funding. John has also benefitted from our free workshop programme which has enabled him to network with other local entrepreneurs and learn essential skills that will ultimately contribute to the success of The Rose House.”

Business Gateway provides practical help, advice and support for new and growing businesses.

To find out more about how Business Gateway can help you set up and develop your own business as well as find out when and where workshops are taking place, visit their local pages or call your local Business Gateway office directly on 01738 657 215.

Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office and speak to them for support and advice.

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