All in the family

MARQUETTE – Mel Charbonneau and Tori Sager credit family support as the reason they have been able to launch Fellow Flowers.

Charbonneau’s husband, Jason, has become involved with the business.

“Jason works with us, taking care of orders and doing so many other things,” Charbonneau said. “We call him the ‘Flower Fellow.’ He believes in what we’re doing and has taken over many of the day-to-day operations, which allows us to move our vision foward.”

Sager said, “Jason has been a godsend the last few months on the business side of things. We need someone we could trust and that’s him.”

Sager’s husband, Ben, has been extraordinarily encouraging, she said.

“When I go out of town, Ben takes care of things at home and I don’t ever have to worry,” she said.

The Charbonneaus have two daughters, Alexis, 5, and Allison, 2. The Sagers are parents to three children: Lincoln, 10; Kyler, 6; and Addi, 5.

Another family member who provided wise counsel was Sager’s uncle, Jason Jennings, who is the author of several best-selling business books.

“We sat down with him and he was so helpful,” Sager said.

Their parents – Ruth and Jerry Poutanen for Charbonneau, Scott Koski and Tanya Niemi for Sager – also have been supportive.

In fact, Ruth Poutanen has joined the Fellow Flower movement.

“My mom did her first half-marathon recently then ran her second in Chicago (last weekend),” Charbonneau said. “She’s caught the bug. She is an example that at any age, you can start running. She’s a great example of that and I am so proud of her.”

Charbonneau gave her mother a red Fellow Flower.

“That’s about dedication, planning, commitment, about setting a goal and working toward it,” she said. “That’s my mother.”

Being part of an enterprise that’s taken off immediately is only possible, the women said, with loved ones standing beside them.

“Family support is everything, for me and for Tori,” she said.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is