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Two best friends say they found a golden opportunity for employment together.
Kim Somerton and her best friend Melissa Andrews, both of Glace Bay, opened The Golden Girls Private Homecare Services on Sept. 2.
Their services are all non-medical, providing everything from personal care to transportation, preparing meals, cleaning, shopping to even decorating a Christmas tree or shoveling a driveway.
So far, they have 20 employees, all with different skills to fit any need in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“We even do hoarders jobs,” Somerton said. “We just finished one. It took us three days. We gutted a whole house out and we did a miracle job. The satisfaction we got when we finished was the most amazing feeling.”
IT ALL STARTED WITH THE VON
The idea for the business came from their 20 years combined working as VON community nurses.
The women actually met while working for the VON and often would be together assisting the same client. Although they loved working for the VON, during the course of their duties they noticed a need for services that went beyond medical and what they as community nurses could provide. Somerton said as a result they’d often go above and beyond doing things they perhaps shouldn’t have, beyond their scope.
“Like pick up their pills,” she said. “We’re not supposed to do that, but a lot of people’s families live away nowadays. Some people have no one here to run errands. You can’t let them go without their medication.”
They were also finding clients were paying for deliveries, for someone to shovel their driveway, for cleaning, for handyman services and so on, causing huge expenses.
The women thought, ‘Why not have something where someone can go in and do different services for one rate of pay?”
The services they offer are endless.
Andrews remembers a VON client who loved going to bingo but the companion she’d go with passed away and all of a sudden she couldn’t go anymore. Losing that part of her routine was hard on her. Their new business will solve such situations.
“We’ll even take them to bingo,” Andrews said.
A GLASS OF WINE
The whole idea became a reality over a glass in wine in Somerton’s garage, to offer a service that would fill in any gaps.
The women had the business plan but needed the perfect name. They began going through the alphabet. Over the second glass of wine, they came up with the name of the Golden Girls.
It was fitting. While working for the VON they did have clients who called them the Golden Girls.
The women said although they did go above and beyond for their VON clients, they feel the nickname came from how they would feed off each other.
“Melissa’s personality is one way and mine is another,” Somerton said. “But when you put the two of us together, it’s fun. I don’t know how else to say it.”
Their past VON clients would know. For the past 11 years with VON, Somerton would dress up for any clients she visited on Halloween and the past few years, Andrews did as well. On one occasion they visited a palliative care client together, Andrews dressed as Dolly Parton and Somerton, a clown.
“We did it to see our client smile,” Somerton said.
As VON community nurses, they proved to be a great team, ending up on another occasion visiting a client with ALS at the same time.
“She wanted her Christmas tree up, her family were working and busy and the other part of the family lived away,” Andrews said.
So Somerton and Andrews decided to do her Christmas tree for her.
The following year while Somerton was visiting the same client she said, “The next time you and Melissa are here I’d like you to decorate my tree again.”
So they did.
“It just became one of those things we’d do,” Somerton said. “It was a lot of fun.”
The last time they decorated was Dec. 2018, the client sadly passed away in January 2019.
Andrews is hoping this woman can see them now, opening their new business together.
“She’d be so proud of us,” she said. “She had a picture of us beside her bed. We were her golden girls and took care of her right up until she died. We truly miss her.”
NEW BUSINESS CLEANING UP WITH CLIENTS
One of the biggest compliments they get with their new business is clients commenting on how much fun they are.
When a client is looking for certain services, Somerton and Andrews go together to do a consultation and have fun in the process.
Most recently Somerton said one commented, “If I can give you any advice, don’t change who you are.”
After opening Sept. 2, Somerton said the first appointment the Golden Girls have had was cleaning for a senior in Glace Bay.
“We have done mainly cleaning since,” she said. “It’s not necessarily for seniors. A lot of people work and don’t have time to clean the house. It’s not always a senior.”
Although a new business, it’s picking up steam fast and there's a lot of attention on their Golden Girls Homecare Services Ltd. Facebook page. All 20 employees have a criminal record check, first aid and CPR. They're already looking at hiring more.
“They are our golden girls,” Andrews said. “We’re already growing, we’re extremely busy.”