The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the stress of reorganizing business practices, rethinking how to get goods and services to customers, and working to keep employees healthy. Lea’s Floral Shop in East McKeesport, PA rolled with the punches. They adjusted to new delivery areas and health protocols and kept moving their business forward. However, just as pandemic restrictions began to lift, they encountered another incredible hardship. In April 2021, after 62 years in business, a devastating fire destroyed their building and took all their equipment with it.
Mary Lechliter, whose mother and grandfather started Lea’s Floral Shop, was afraid of what the fire would mean for the future of the shop. As a family-run business, Lea’s Floral Shop needs everyone on board to keep it afloat. Mary sat down with three of her children, who help her run the business, and asked what they wanted to do. Was it time to let the business go? Or were they going to rebuild?
They unanimously decided to rebuild and keep Lea’s Floral Shop alive. With this decision came relief but also new challenges. Where would they go in the meantime? Luckily, their community was looking out for them. Before the weekend was over, they were moved into their borough’s community center and set up to provide flowers for several weddings and other customers they’d booked in the coming week.
With this change came more difficulty. Once they were settled, they realized that the temporary outdoor cooler for their fresh flowers sometimes froze in the winter and even occasionally froze the top shelf of flowers in the summer. And, of course, they had to navigate the rebuilding process.
Rather than stay in the same location, Lea’s Floral Shop had an idea. Why not rebuild where the original location opened? Four generations and 63 years after its opening, Lea’s Floral Shop will return to its original address in 2023. They’ve certainly become stronger in the face of adversity.
Because of their incredible tenacity and persistence, Lea’s Floral Shop is one of Pie’s 2022 Upper Crust Awards Runner-Ups. They are beloved by their borough and have demonstrated the power of family and community. We’re honored to be a small part of supporting them as they continue to grow and thrive.