Florist celebrates 50 years of service to the community | Business

Paul Beale’s flowers marked 50 years of service to the community.

The company was started on May 1, 1971 by Paul Beale Sr. and his wife Altermese. He worked as a manager for Stein’s Florist for 15 years before going on his own.

Altermese Beale recalled the days when she and her husband ran the West Oak Lane flower shop on their own.

“My husband and I started and it was just him and I here,” said Altermese Beale, reflecting on his early days in the business. “I didn’t know a flower from another, but I learned.”

“We had difficulties but we managed to overcome them,” she continued. It was tough but we made it. It was a wonderful trip.

She has seen how the Ogontz Avenue commercial corridor has changed over the years. While other businesses on the avenue closed their doors, the florist remained the pillar of the community.

Altermese Beale, who is 90, still works at the store at 7220 Ogontz Ave. She is joined by four generations of family members.

Paul Beale Sr.’s daughter, Paulette Beale Harris, said he taught them all about the flower business and the importance of hard work. He passed away in 2020.

“My dad was 92 when he passed away, so he had that old-fashioned value,” said Beale Harris, who runs the company.

“The only thing my dad did was love his wife, love his family, and work every day.”

Beale’s grandson, Paul David Beale Sr., is proud to know that the family business has survived for 50 years.

“The mere fact that this is our business gives me more incentive and motivation to wake up early, get here early and do the extra things to keep going because I know the hardships my grandparents had to go through to even start.” in the first place, “he said.

“You see so many times in our black businesses that the parents start it and when the kids grow up they venture out and then the business goes down. In our case, we are continuing the inheritance.

Whether it’s providing flower arrangements for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and funerals, the Beales pride themselves on being there for their clients and developing longtime clients.

“We are on the ground,” said Beale Harris. “When they come in they know they’re going to see a Beale.”

She can recall times when they celebrated a client’s wedding and their children and grandchildren’s proms.

When the pandemic hit last March, Beale Harris almost panicked when he found out how the company could adapt.

“It started out hard because we had to readjust,” she explained. “We just had to do a few readjustments and after that we got back to the nitty-gritty. “

“We managed to manage,” she continued. “We just tightened our belts.

The company has faced various challenges due to the pandemic. Last year they were hit by the flower shortage as growers struggled to adjust during the public health crisis.

“When Mother’s Day hit I think because people couldn’t see each other the flower industry was bombarded and the supply really wasn’t enough for the demand,” said Beale Harris. “We weren’t prepared.

Restrictions to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in the cancellation of proms, weddings and religious events, leading to lower flower sales.

Beale Harris said the Great Recession marked the last time their business faced such a difficult time.

“I don’t know which one was the most difficult,” said Beale Harris, comparing the two periods. “Flowers are not a necessity, they are a luxury. So when you start talking about discretionary income, you can usually cut flowers. That’s why you have to keep finding a way to stay relevant.

To stay relevant, she said they send birthdays and anniversaries email alerts to their customers and make sure they continue to deliver a quality product.

“You can’t let that go just because things are a little rocky,” said Beale Harris. “You still have to maintain that quality. “

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