KAREN Cartwright, 38, is the owner of Forget Me Not Flowers, in Lodge Lane, Grays.

She has lived in the borough her whole life, and the shop recently celebrated its 13th anniversary.

Q) What do you love about Thurrock and what has kept you here?

A) I feel there’s a great community spirit in Thurrock. I love being close to my family and friends, and on a business level I feel it’s good to have a good knowledge of the area you serve.

Q) How do you see the future for the borough (DP World, Thames Crossing etc)?

A) The future is bright for Thurrock. I feel the improvements to the area will create jobs and opportunities for existing businesses.

I look at this as positive change and I’m excited to be part of the changes.

Q) If you could change one thing about the borough, what would it be?

A) It would be to offer our younger generation more opportunity, listen to their wants and needs. They are our future.

Q) What advice would you give to people wanting to set up their own business in the borough?

A) I would recommend, if you are aiming to start your own business, to have a solid plan in place.

Talk to other business owners and seek free advice. There are lots of organisations out there to give free, impartial advice. Make sure you have secure financial backing and know that it’s lots of hard work at first, but well worth it in the end!

Q) What made you start up your business here?

A) I have been working in floristry for many years and know Thurrock very well, so thought it would be an ideal place to have my business. I get lots of business from local organisations, family and friends.

Q) What involvement with the community does the shop have?

A) I support lots of local charities and schools through donations – Cancer Research being particularly close to my heart. It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction being able to help local causes and organisations.

Q) What role do you think the Gazette plays in the community?

A) The Gazette plays a vital role in Thurrock. It embraces local business in the borough, and is a great advertising tool for local businesses. I feel the Gazette has played a very important role in the success of Forget Me Not Flowers. The Gazette keeps you up to date with all the local news on a weekly basis and it’s a great business directory for the area.

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