Charlotte Charlton has long been a familiar face at the Pink Cherry.
The 21-year-old entrepreneur became familiar with the downtown Salmon Arm coffee shop/eatery in 2010, when her parents Helen and Stephen Charlton became its owners. Charlotte and her siblings Natasha and William (they are triplets) were photographed serving their mother coffee and a meal at the restaurant that year for a feature story in the Salmon Arm Observer. Asked then about her ideal Mother’s Day, Helen responded, “This Mother’s Day I would like to have a lazy morning with my family, then, to tell you the truth, I will be coming into the Pink Cherry to make sure other mothers are having a good time.”
That devotion to customer service, and the business, rubbed off on Charlotte, who began working at the Pink Cherry when she was old enough, and continued to do so after the Charltons sold the business to Angie and Bill Alde in 2016.
This summer, Charlotte had an opportunity to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become the latest owner of the Pink Cherry.
“I’ve always wanted to, I just didn’t know it would be possible so early,” said Charlotte. “I started inquiring with my accountant, with my mom and found it was possible, and everything started moving faster.”
While the idea of running your own business might be daunting for some, Charlotte had the benefit of experience, from seeing what it was like for her parents running the business, to having a good, close working relationship with the Aldes.
“It feels really good,” said Charlotte of owning the Pink Cherry. “The opportunity would never have arose if I hadn’t worked here for so long and had a good connection with the previous owner.”
Helen said it was a shock for her and Stephen when they learned of their daughter’s interest in buying the restaurant. She said they talked a lot about it. Charlotte knew from her parents’ experience alone how much time and commitment running a business involves.
“I saw Mom and Dad when they ran it, they were always working,” said Charlotte. “I saw that for a lot of years so I knew that’s how it was going to be. It didn’t bother me.”
“She says it’s her passion, so yeah, we backed her 100 per cent and said, ‘Honey, if that’s what you want to do, go for it,’” said Helen.
After taking over the Pink Cherry, Charlotte said the one change she wanted to make was to extend its hours of operation back to seven days a week (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday). Otherwise, consistency continues to be a valued ingredient behind the Pink Cherry’s success.
“It’s been here for a long time, it’s kind of a community staple,” said Charlotte. “We’ve had a lot of the same customers for the last 10-12 years.”
Helen said she and Stephen are proud of Charlotte, noting they’ve always been patrons of the Pink Cherry, “now even more so.”
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