Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award Finalist
At 19, Anna opened a small restaurant with her husband Peter. She often crafted small gifts for her clients as a token of appreciation for their business. After seeing her client’s reaction to these gifts, and how these propelled customer loyalty, Anna decided this may be something that could be turned into a business — and that’s how Peter & Paul’s Gifts was born, over 35 years ago. Peter & Paul’s Gifts is now a multimillion-dollar empire and one of the largest gift companies in Canada.
My first job ever was… When I was 13 my dad assisted in getting me a job as a helper at our local pharmacy! I learned very early in my life that listening skills and great customer service on an individual level would go a long way in making a customer loyal and happy.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… My husband Peter and I always felt there was never a limit in what we could achieve. Being an entrepreneur felt like the most natural way of designing the future we wanted for ourselves.
My proudest accomplishment is… My proudest accomplishment is how Peter and I have made our business and our employees part of our extended family.
My boldest move to date was… By far it was being a Mom of 3 young children to joining Peter as his business partner.
I surprise people when I tell them… That at the same time as launching our first restaurant I also had an enormous love of travel and managed to get a part-time job as a ground attendant at Ward Air. This gave us the opportunity of complimentary flights to explore the world with my family. I’d work from 4:30 am to 8:30 am each day and then start my day at the restaurant! A lot of hard work but it was a fantastic experience.
My best advice to people looking to grow their business is… Don’t take no for an answer and be consistent with your clients – do what you say you’re going to do for them.
My biggest setback was… The financial crises of 1989 set us back enormously. We were still young and had time to rebuild, but we learned not to overextend ourselves, that hard work pays off and nothing comes easy.
“Success to me is when I see our businesses operating on their own. That means Peter and I have accomplished the task of forming trustworthy knowledgeable teams that can function without our daily input. This frees us to be in pursuit of the next best venture or big idea!”
I overcame it by… Believing in the approach of slow and steady growth and that when you are good at what you do, opportunities will arise.
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… Take more time for myself, meditate and do activities to feed my soul a bit more.
I stay inspired by… Peter and I inspire each other! I’m also inspired by my travel experiences and having an entrepreneurial drive that still excites us to achieve my own personal best.
The future excites me because…… Our team is growing every day and this allows us to acquire and evolve our business daily, so we can continually improve and be the best in the industry.
Success to me means… Success to me is when I see our businesses operating on their own. That means Peter and I have accomplished the task of forming trustworthy knowledgeable teams that can function without our daily input. This frees us to be in pursuit of the next best venture or big idea!