Zelek Flower Shop in Lorain has been serving its customers for 70 years – Morning Journal
A Lorain florist who has served the community in its happiest and saddest days recently celebrated 70 years in business.
Zelek Flower Shop Inc. was established in 1951 in a former gas station at the intersection of 12th Street and Reid Avenue, said current owner Mary Zelek.
Zelek’s parents, Peter and Sylvia, both deceased, met while working in a flower shop before opening their own boutique.
“My dad wanted to open his own shop,” Zelek said.
The business took off and grew over the next 15 years, prompting them to relocate the store, Zelek said.
Between 1966 and 1967, the Zeleks built the flower shop which is currently located at 1001 Reid Ave.
“We’ve been here ever since,” she said.
The family – her two brothers and a sister – worked together in the flower shop.
“We spent a lot of time there,” Zelek recalls.
The kids started in the business with simple chores like polishing the leaves and watering the flowers, and eventually moved on to more difficult chores over the years, she said.
“We’ve all learned all aspects of the business along the way,” Zelek said of his childhood.
Zelek took a few years to study at the University of Dayton where she studied Business Administration and Marketing.
But, she came home and went back to work at the florist.
“I always plan to come back,” Zelek said.
While her siblings moved, Mary and Sylvia Zelek continued to run the store together after Peter’s death in 1983.
“They (his siblings) all chose different careers,” Zelek said. “I was the only one left to run the store, and I’m the baby. “
In 1997 Sylvia Zelek passed away, but the youngest Zelek said she had maintained the flower shop with the help of “gifted and dedicated” staff members.
“We have been very fortunate with our talented and loyal staff and wonderful customers,” Zelek said.
In particular, Zelek brags about the store’s creator, Bill Rehoreg, who has worked for his family for over 50 years.
“My dad trained him to be a designer, and he became one of the best designers around because he was trained by the best,” she said.
Keeping 70 years in business, of course, has come with some challenges, Zelek said.
However, making it through the past year and a half has been particularly difficult due to the novel global coronavirus pandemic, she said.
Many events, especially weddings, have been called off due to social distancing warrants.
“Fortunately, we were able to weather the storm,” she said.
Obtaining supplies during the pandemic has been difficult and still poses a problem, Zelek said.
“It’s like nothing I have ever known,” she added.
Meanwhile, the past few months have been extremely busy for the florist as events pushed back to schedules and flower orders rushed to be filled.
“Our customers have been very understanding,” Zelek said of the supply shortage.
Zelek Flower Shop has a unique relationship with the community as people need their services for happy times such as weddings and solemn times like funerals, among other events, she said.
The store traditionally has an annual open house but was unable to have it last year.
Zelek said she plans to hold the event this year on November 14, but that it is tentative due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.
“We are crossing our fingers at this point,” she said of any new social distancing mandate that could be in place by November.
Zelek Flower Shop specializes in a large inventory of fresh flowers and plants, vegetable gardens, contemporary and traditional arrangements, high end flower arrangements, silk arrangements, dried flower arrangements, weddings, funeral motifs, a huge range of gifts, food and wine baskets, gift baskets, greeting cards and candles, according to its website.
Address: 1001 avenue Reid, Lorain
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
More information: 440-244-5259 or zelekflowershop.com