Valley woman gets national recognition

FRESNO, Calif.

She took over Fowler Floral and Gifts while she was still in college, and her work ethic and success since then, could end up taking her all the way to the White House.

A delivery van is Talene Kasparian's only mode of transportation. The 27-year-old has been without a personal car ever since she sold it, so she could afford a delivery van for her business, Fowler Floral and Gifts. That kind of personal sacrifice is what's allowed her business to survive and thrive over the past eight years, even in these tough economic times.

"I work harder now," Kasparian said. "I work more, I don't have as much help because I'm doing a lot more myself."

But she's no stranger to hard work. Just getting started was an uphill battle.

"I was a minority, I was young, I had nothing to my name at the time," Kasparian said. "And it took months and months and months and I went to places and I got turned down.

That's when she turned to Valley Small Business Development Corporation for help. The non-profit helped her secure a $65 thousand loan.

Debbie Raven told Action News, "We understand the commitment and character of the type of borrowers we find in the Central Valley. She had all the ingredients, she just need to find somebody willing to take that risk."

That gamble paid off. Talene's business loan will be paid off as of July 2013. And now her biggest believers are some of her biggest customers.

Loan Officer Yeng her was so impressed, he nominated Talene for the EMPACT 100 showcase -- highlighting the top American entrepreneurs under the age of 30, with revenues over $100 thousand a year.

"We feel she's made an impact," Loan Officer Yeng Her said. "Especially in the small business, here in the Valley we want her to represent us. And she's one of the few on the list."

Voting by the public is underway online now, and 100 finalists will be invited to attend a recognition event at the White House next month.

"I'm very grateful," Kasparian said. "You know, that I was nominated. Because it's recognition that what I'm doing has really meant something to somebody."

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