When you walk into Lee’s Flower and Card Shop along U Street in Northwest D.C., you immediately get smacked in the face with the unique and delightful smell of fresh flowers.
It’s impossible for customers to ignore, but the employees who work there have gotten used to it.
“Unfortunately, we get immune to the smell,” said Kristie Lee Jones, who owns the business. “Because we’re around it all the time, we don’t smell it. But when I go away on vacation and come back, the smell is more pungent.”
Lee’s has been around for several generations in the nation’s capital.
“The business was established by my grandparents in 1945,” Jones said. “They had a card shop, and then they branched out and started incorporating flowers, plants and gifts.”
Jones started working there when she was just 12 years old.
She went away and worked at a different job for about 15 years, but then returned to her family’s business and has been there for more than 20 years now.
“We have a very strong relationship with the community,” Jones said. “We do a lot of events and holiday parties. There is always something going on.”
The business has four or five local wholesalers it gets its flowers from.
Jones has a design team that puts together various flower arrangements, but she still likes to do it herself whenever she has the time.
She said it’s just like riding a bike.
“Once you learn it, it doesn’t go away,” Jones said. “Every time I come up with something different, and it really allows me to just have my creative juices flowing.”
Christmas is one of the busies holidays for the business, as people work to decorate their homes both inside and outside.
Soon it will be their busiest day of the year, which is Valentine’s Day.
“It’s funny, it comes in February, but it always seems like it comes really fast after Christmas,” said Jones. “The next thing you know, it’s Valentine’s Day, so we’re always busy.”