West Oak Lane flower shop marks 50 years of serving the community

Paul Beale’s Flowers has marked 50 years of serving as a community staple. The business was launched May 1, 1971, by Paul Beale Sr. and his wife Altermese. He worked as a manager for Stein’s Florist for 15 years before branching out on his own.

Altermese Beale recalled the days when she and her husband manned the West Oak Lane-based flower shop by themselves. “My husband and I started out and it was just he and I in here,” Altermese Beale said as she reflected on her early days in the business. “I didn’t know one flower from another, but I learned.”

“We had struggles but we worked through them,” she continued.” It was tough but we made it. It was a wonderful journey.” Philly artists help promote small businesses owned by people of color this holiday season

The posters, designed by Philly artists and the small businesses that inspire them, will be placed in commercial corridors across the city, just in time for holiday shopping.

Altermese Beale, who is 90, still works at the shop 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 working hard. He died in 2020.

“My dad was 92 when he passed, so he had that old school value in him,” said Beale Harris, who runs the business. “The only thing my dad did was love his wife, love his family, and work every day.”

Beale’s grandson, Paul David Beale Sr., takes pride in knowing that the family business has survived for 50 years. “Just the mere fact that it’s our business gives me more incentive and drive to get up early, get in here early and do the extra things to keep it going because I know the struggles that my grandparents went through to even start in the first place,” he said.

“You see so many times in our Black businesses the parents start it and when the kids get older they venture off somewhere else and then the business goes down. In our case we’re continuing the legacy.”

Read the complete article at /www.whyy.org.

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