Fort Langley shop going Hollywood
It's just a small store with a bright red facade, tucked away in Fort Langley's Gasoline Alley — but Cranberries Naturally is suddenly making a big splash on the international scene.
Jasmine Marjanovic's specialty shop — dedicated to the little red berry — has been selected to provide "swag" for celebrity gift bags at this year's Oscar celebrations in Hollywood.
The 84th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. But for Marjanovic, the drama will begin to unfold the day before, when she arrives at the Avalon Hotel to meet and greet the stars who will take home jars of her cranberry-jalapeno jelly and cranberry mustard.
"You want to give them something they're going to remember and really like," she said of her selections.
And, as a nod to the special occasion, she will replace the jars' regular white labels with gold ones.
With red and gold maple leaf confetti, raffia, boxes and bags scattered everywhere, "My kitchen looks like Santa's workshop right now," she laughed.
Marjanovic will supply enough jelly and mustard to fill 100 bags, though she's not sure which celebrities will be getting them.
"I don't think it's going to be George Clooney — rats," she chuckled.
However, she will get the opportunity to chat with the stars who come by, get autographs and pose for photos.
While she cannot claim they are endorsing her product, she is otherwise free to use the photos to promote her business, Marjanovic explained.
Just like in the movies, it's been non-stop action for the merchant since she stepped into the spotlight earlier this month, after learning that she had been selected to participate in the pre-awards show festivities. But it all began last fall when a customer mentioned her store to a Vancouver promotions company. At the time, the goal was to seek a spot at another awards show.
"It's been totally bizarre how it all came down," said Marjanovic. "A couple of months ago, I got an email from her (media publicist Annette McArthur) about the Grammy Awards (which are happening on Feb. 12)."
But with the recent expansion of her store, the busy Christmas retail season and her involvement in Township mayor Jack Froese's election campaign, the timing was off, she said.
"We finally hooked up about 10 days ago, and she said 'I've got good news — you're not going to the Grammys.'"
Of course, her destination was even more impressive, and the resulting attention has followed suit, said Marjanovic.
With newspaper articles and spots on radio and television from B.C. to Ontario — and even a call from a Chicago radio program — Marjanovic said she's getting a small sense of what it must be like for the people who are actually up for statuettes on the big day.
"It's just been like, wow, 'What the hell is going on?'"
Although she has no idea what the week will hold, beyond her morning at the Avalon alongside 59 other vendors, she hopes she'll be invited to few parties where she can rub shoulders with a few movie stars and, of course, talk shop.
Marjanovic, who worked for 11 years as a sales rep for the Langley Times, opened her boutique store in 1999, before many people had caught on to the multitude of health benefits related to the tart red berry.
From Fort Langley, Marjanovic has expanded throughout B.C. with her products on shelves from the Kootenays to Vancouver Island. Her goal was to be marketing Cranberries Naturally across the U.S. within the next five years, but with this bump in her exposure, she expects it could happen a lot sooner.
As mayor of the Township, Froese, meanwhile, is thrilled that a Langley company has been chosen to share the spotlight during one of Hollywood’s most special events.
“It’s not every day that a business gets asked to be featured at the Academy Awards,” he said.
“What an honour for Jasmine. This is a coveted opportunity, and Cranberries Naturally products will end up in the hands — and mouths — of some very influential people.
"I have no doubt they will become fans. We are proud that a Fort Langley company has been recognized in this way, and given such a unique business advantage.”