HAMPDEN, Mass. - Brittney Procon loves flowers and making bouquets.
“It's something about having fresh flowers in your house, is just really rewarding," Procon, owner of Kinderhook Flower and Gifts in Hampden, said. "It's relaxing. It's homey. It makes everything really much more inviting."
With some time to spare during the COVID-19 pandemic, Procon says she wanted to learn new skills.
“I said, 'You know what? I’m going to take some online floral classes,' and that's kind of where it all sparked," Procon said.
A banker of 15 years, Procon decided to open up her shop a few weeks ago.
She stayed at the bank working part-time while she was getting her business started, but says it got hard to do both.
So Procon is leaving her job as a banker to work at her store full-time.
“Loved it, loved my customers, but it got to the point where I was just ready for a different challenge in life," Procon said.
Procon isn’t alone. In August, about 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs. It’s the highest number recorded in 20 years.
Procon is working with some other small business owners with stories similar to hers.
“I want people to come in being able to bring out creative side," Procon said.
Although the pandemic has provided Procon with perspective, it's also posing some challenges. Like many businesses, the flower industry is impacted by nationwide shortages.
Brittney says she’s ordering things a few weeks ahead of time and is also working with local farms, so people can make their own bouquets.
“I would just call a wholesaler and I would be able to get flowers and order them the day before and pick them up on the next day, but that’s not the case anymore," Procon said.
Even though she’s only been open for a short time, Procon says she’s enjoying her new business which stemmed from an old hobby.