Lees Flower Shop

I just spent last month remem­ber­ing the amaz­ing and all too short life of Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. As we head into Black His­to­ry Month, I want­ed to know a lit­tle more about African Amer­i­can florists in history.

In my research, I found sis­ters Sta­cie Lee-Banks and Kristie Lee, own­ers of the old­est black owned flower shop in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. called Lee’s Flower and Card Shop. 

Since 1945, Lee’s Flower Shop has been the pre­mier florist in Wash­ing­ton, DC, serv­ing the met­ro­pol­i­tan area with fresh flower arrange­ments and addi­tion­al gifts of all kinds! Lee’s is a Black-owned fam­i­ly busi­ness, cur­rent­ly oper­at­ed by the orig­i­nal founders’ grand­daugh­ters. We know we’re the old­est Black-owned flower shop in Wash­ing­ton, DC as well as the old­est DC florist, but we may also be the longest-stand­ing Black-owned flower shop in all of the Unit­ed States! — Lee’s Flower Shop

Local News Covers the 75-Year-Old Business

The com­pa­ny owns its build­ing, took in $1.4 mil­lion in rev­enue in 2019 and has 14 employ­ees. As an FTD florist, they pro­vide flow­ers for wed­dings, events, home dec­o­ra­tion and local deliv­er­ies. Their Insta­gram account, @leesflowersdc,  shows lots of instal­la­tions, col­or­ful wed­dings and love­ly flo­ral gifts.

Richard Lee, the sis­ters’ father and sec­ond own­er of the shop, was inter­viewed in The Wash­ing­ton­ian Mag­a­zine in 2017. He said, “We used to have parades up and down here almost every Sat­ur­day dur­ing foot­ball sea­son, and they all had queens and floats and bands. Every queen had to have a big bou­quet. They would stay up all night some­times, my moth­er and father, putting the bou­quets together.”

Pivoting in the Summer

Every­thing changed in March of 2020 after the Covid shut­down occurred and like many florists across the coun­try, they were run­ning out of fresh flo­rals. So, one of the sis­ters drove to all the way to New Jer­sey to a flower whole­saler who was still oper­at­ing in order to get flowers!

They reopened their doors in August 2020. In an arti­cle about the shop in BizJournals.com, Kristie is quot­ed about the ris­ing demand for live plants and that has boost­ed her desire to have more flow­ers and plants at home, too.

Peo­ple are like, ‘I know you have amaz­ing flow­ers at home all the time. I’m like, ‘Nope.’ But I’m try­ing to do bet­ter because I real­ly appre­ci­ate what oth­ers see in it now. It’s very reward­ing to have liv­ing things in your space. They bring joy.” - Kristie Lee, as quot­ed in BizJournals.com

Gentrification

The Wash­ing­ton City Paper wrote an arti­cle about the gen­tri­fi­ca­tion of U Street in D.C. and Lee’s Flower Shop was fea­tured. In 2015, Richard Lee, dis­cuss­es the shop’s his­to­ry on Howard Uni­ver­si­ty Radio.

Murals of Founders

Kaliq

Sta­cie and Kristie’s grand­par­ents, William P. and Winifred Lee are fea­tured on the DCMu­rals tour.   You can take a bus or walk­ing tour to see the col­or­ful flower and por­trait mur­al by artist Kaliq Cus­toms com­plet­ed in 2017.

Flower Duet’s Kit and Casey grew up in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. area and spent a lot of time in the District.

And so when we vis­it our par­ents back east, we are sure to vis­it Lee’s Flower Shop and take the DC murals walk­ing tour.