Being hit by a drunk driver and watching her parents divorce doesn't sound like the recipe for creating a business that fosters romance, but that's what happened for one 19 year old.
Alyssa Shapiro has used her negative experiences to start Seaside Romance.
"If it only affects 10 to 15 couples, that's OK with me," the Concordia University student said. "But just getting up in the morning, going to work and knowing that my work is going to be a positive thing for people — and going to bring smiles to people — that is a good thing."
Shapiro and her mother, Pam, both Huntington Beach residents, want to help couples connect and keep the romance alive through Seaside Romance, a special events catering company that puts on romantic lunch or dinner dates at a private residence or overlooking the ocean in Laguna Beach.
The two make it a night to remember with a walkway lined with rose petals and candles, a table overlooking the ocean, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne and a dozen roses.
"We realized it was just a lack of kind gestures and kind thoughts that were missing from a lot of relationships," Shapiro said. "You can say 'I love you' all you want and you can just say things, but sometimes, especially for women, it's the actions that show them how you feel."
The duo hopes their services won't be used to impress, but to make a memory and show how much clients love their significant other.
Shapiro, a self-proclaimed romantic, came up with the business idea. Her interest in relationships started when she was 8 and her parents divorced.
"That made a really big impact on me," she said. "It's a difficult thing to go through."
During her freshman year, Shapiro was forced to give up her life-long dream of becoming a physical therapist after a drunk driver hit a car she was in.
Shapiro doesn't see why her age should stop her, and her mother didn't hesitate to back her daughter and become her business partner.
"She has always been very headstrong from the beginning," Pam said. "Whatever she puts her mind to, she does."
For more information, visit http://www.seasideromance.net.