25th Anniversary of CCOR and Blossom!
In celebration of 25 years, we sat down with founder Al Gauvin, and our current CEO, Chris Gauvin to talk about the company's rich history, memorable moments, and what's to come!
Blossom began out of Al’s commitment to family and his desire to help his sister Muriel after she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. How do you keep her memory alive at Blossom?
Chris Gauvin (CG): Well, I think there are a couple of ways I’ve tried to keep her memory alive. The first was having her picture in the office. The conference room is named after her and we keep the lamp she was awarded for Teacher of the Year in Connecticut in that room. In addition to that, I am currently working on establishing a foundation in her name to give back to some of our staff. Whenever I talk to new hires, I always mention the story of how my dad founded the company.
What motivates you to exemplify the Blossom Core Values of Get it Done and Solve the Problem?
Al Gauvin (AG): Well as Chris knows, Get it Done is my phrase. Let’s not hang around, let’s just get it done, move on, and get that behind us because our clients
don’t pre-engineer their problems; their problems are now. Their problems are right this second and that’s when they want solutions; right this second. They don’t have the luxury of waiting around for us to do it on our terms. That has always been the case.
Chris Gauvin (CG): Solve the Problem is one that I identify with. It’s always been my MO. I like solving problems.
What was one of Blossom’s greatest triumphs?
AG: Probably one of our biggest triumphs was when I decided to open an office in Geneva, NY. I saw a need in Ontario County. We went to Geneva and opened an office and before we knew it that office was about 70% the size of the Rochester office.
CG: We outgrew the space before the paint dried. We had almost 400 hours in service within the first week that we even put a flag in, it was crazy. The region is still very successful to this day.
How would you describe the Blossom community?
CG: I think there was a shift in culture in a lot of organizations that was coming and COVID accelerated that quite a bit. I think the way we used to do business when the company first started and the way we are forced to do business now are completely different. However, I think ultimately the people inside are still the same kind of people that we always wanted to have on our team, people that really care about the clients first. You know that’s their first thought, the people we take care of.
Over the past 25 years, Blossom has had a lot of fun celebrations and events, what was one of your favorite moments?
AG: One that stands out is the Carnival theme summer picnic we had a while back. We had a lot of family involvement and fun carnival games. Chris’s kids ran the booths and I think they gave out more candy than they should have!
CG: The candy budget was high! AG: The candy budget was high, and it just stands out.
CG: And that was one of the first ones we did at Ellison Park. Every department created its own game. There was a ring toss and face painting. It was a lot of fun!
Lead with Heart and Extending the Family are two of Blossom’s Core Values. What do compassion and family mean to you and how does that affect your work style?
AG: Family is huge to me, obviously. I have two of my kids working in the company, and all my kids are shareholders. I have a dozen grandkids...that’s basically what I live for. I always felt that I wanted a family-like atmosphere for the company. It had to be much more than a paycheck. If it was just a paycheck, then there are plenty of other places you could work.
CG: Extend the Family is where a lot of this company started. We wanted to make sure that the people we are working with and the people we are taking care of are being treated like how we want ourselves to be treated and how we want our family to be treated. This company has done a lot for our family. It has kept us all living in the same region for one thing. Regarding Lead with Heart, over the years in this job, we’ve had to have some really tough conversations with people, conversations that people at other jobs do not necessarily have to have. Through those processes, you learn that compassion is the majority of the battle. Making sure everyone is on the same page, taking care of people the right way, and how you approach difficult situations is really important. Always leading with those compassionate thoughts is a focus that I have, that my dad had, and the company has, too.
What are some of your favorite things about Western New York?
CG: The lakes are one of my favorites. Right before I started to come work for you, you bought that land on Seneca. It had been mom’s dream to get a house on the lake forever. The lakes are where it’s at! I love it! The kids go there and play with all their cousins. Right now, we are headed into the elite season... Go Bills! It is going to be an awesome fall, I can’t wait!
AG: When Chris was in 6th grade, we moved here from California which was prior to me starting the company. When I told Chris we were moving 3000 miles away he made me promise that we would learn how to ski. Now all our kids are great skiers as well as the next generation. I was 42 when we moved here, and I had never skied before. I remember my skiing instructor said, “You know Mr. Gauvin I never knew that skiing was a contact sport until I started training you!” I would use the trees to try to stop!
CG: I have so many memories of that, of my dad just screaming at the tree to move away!
What do you hope to see in Blossom’s future as a company?
AG: I hope that we can still provide the kind of quality service that we have historically.
CG: Here at Blossom, we are fortunate to have some great people on the team, and we are in the process of recovery from COVID. New additions in recruiting are going to bring what we used to have back to the table, so I’m hopeful.