Meet Miss Mary The ‘Angelic’ Woman Who Set Up Central District’s First Black-Owned Floral Shop In 1984 And Has Been Running It Since

by Shine My Crown Staff
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Opening Flowers Just-4-U in 1984 to Uplift Her Community

In the vibrant Central District of Seattle stands Flowers Just-4-U, the area’s first-ever Black-owned floral shop. Owner Mary Wesley, affectionately dubbed “Miss Mary,” established the store in 1984 with the mission of bringing beautiful flowers to her neighborhood.

“It was just something I loved to do and it was giving something back to my community. We did not have a flower shop in the community,” Wesley explained.

Though unable to recall the exact number of arrangements crafted over 40 years, Miss Mary guesstimated “tens of thousands” of bouquets have passed through her doors for momentous life events across Seattle and beyond.

Facing Hardships But Saved By Her Community’s Support

In 2018, Flowers Just-4-U was forced out of its original 23rd and Jackson location by new development in the rapidly gentrifying Central District. Wesley relocated her shop to 23rd and Cherry but struggled with less foot traffic and parking.

Facing eviction in 2020, the community banded together to save the beloved florist. A GoFundMe campaign raised the necessary funds for Miss Mary to keep her charming store afloat. Flowers Just-4-U marks 40 years in business in 2024 thanks to dedicated customers and Wesley’s tireless dedication.

From Engineer to Florist: Her Dreams Blossom Into Reality

Mary Wesley originally had an almost 30-year engineering career at Boeing. After retiring in 1997, she studied horticulture and flower design before making her entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Opening Flowers Just-4-U allowed Wesley to merge her creative talents with her business spirit to uplift the neighborhood she loves. Despite challenges over 40 years, Miss Mary persists in spreading joy through floral art with no retirement plans in sight.

“It’s a very joyous thing. I could never find the words to say it how I’d like to express it because there’s not a word yet I think I could use that would really explain how I feel about my career,” Wesley said.

A Community Pillar Providing Comfort and Celebrating Life

Far more than a store, Flowers Just-4-U and Mary Wesley herself represent pillars of the Central District community. Miss Mary has provided flowers for celebrations big and small while also comforting grieving families for 40 years.

Current employee Sue Grimord calls her workplace “a family” and attests to Wesley’s angelic care for every customer. Though operating on a smaller scale than earlier years, Flowers Just-4-U remains a neighborhood foundation staying strong into its fifth decade thanks to the vision and heart of “Miss Mary.”

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