In order to highlight the amazing local businesses in Florida’s 47th District, the Anna For Florida campaign has launched “47 Means Business,” an ongoing blog series to spotlight local business owners in Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, and throughout the district.
Our blog digs deeper into local businesses by collaborating with business owners to showcase their success and to identify what the legislature can do to support them. Together, these profiles come together to create a larger picture of the amazing diversity and ingenuity of local business owners that Anna hopes to serve and represent in the Florida House.
This week, Cheryl Blanc of Dandelion Communitea Cafe is serving up more than sustainable goodies, but also a story of community-building with an environmental focus. North Thornton Avenue is home to this “home away from home” for many district residents seeking a cozy oasis to escape for a tasty treat or a space to work in an inclusive, conscious setting.
Team Anna: What inspired you to start your small business?
Cheryl Blanc: My husband, Chris Blanc, started Dandelion with his former business partner based on a desire to start something more sustainable in a community they loved. I joined the team in 2010, and what first inspired me was the connection to our customers that I had never seen in any other restaurant I had worked in. The atmosphere is so warm and inviting, and to see so many happy people each day, both customers and employees, is truly inspiring.
TA: What is the most exciting part about owning and operating a small businesses?
CB: I love being able to create a space that I’m proud to be a part of, and to be able to help out on a wider scale with the business than I could by myself. It’s always bothered me to see trash in a gorgeous park, so I started organizing Community Cleanup days with the help of Keep Orlando Beautiful. We have done toy & toiletry drives to support our neighbors in Sanford through The Picnic Project. Overall, it’s great to have the chance to focus on an issue close to my heart, and make a real difference to the environment and to people’s lives all at once.
TA: Describe a perfect day at work.
CB: I love getting to work early, when it’s quiet and empty. I walk around the property, check on the garden that New Growth Urban Farm put in. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and really just take it all in – think about what this cafe means to me and what it means to Orlando. A perfect day would involve me talking with friends coming to eat, seeing people enjoying their meals, chatting and laughing, and enjoying the break from the rush of the world around us. I love to people watch, and Dandy is a really wonderful place to remember that there is so much good in the world.
TA: Are there any current policy issues impacting your business? If so, how?
CB: There aren’t any that come to mind at the moment. As a mother, I always want to see advancement in making sure all children are able to get a great education, and nutritious food to eat. As a human, I would love to see bigger strides in changing the systemic racism in our judicial system. All in all, I want people to have a fair shot in having a happy life for themselves, no matter their gender, race, religion, or sexual preference.
TA: What could the legislature do better to help you thrive?
CB: That’s a tricky question. I think there are people the legislature should focus on before me – anyone that needs more affordable access to healthcare, including mental health; those living on the streets with nowhere to call home; teachers that should make more money and have more supplies for their incredibly challenging and very important role. I would love to see more community gardens at schools, especially in low income areas, where the kids could bring produce home to their families. I would like second chance voting rights for people that have served their time for a mistake they made. Voting in great candidates that have empathy and the desire to make real changes in our government is what would really help.
If you want to join District 47’s favorite communitea, wander over to their site and learn more.