Florist Marcia Melendez has reinvented herself almost as much as Bedford-Stuyvesant.
She immigrated here from England after high school, she moved her business — Flowerworks — three times to escape soaring rents, and she and her husband Angel invested their future in a building they bought 13 years ago on Nostrand Avenue between Herkimer Place and Pacific Street.
“We were determined not to rent another storefront, as we found it challenging for our business to be profitable while at the mercy of a landlord,” says Melendez, who worshipped at the local Bridge Street African Methodist Episcopal Church and was familiar with the deep-rooted community.
Her ebbs and flows have mirrored Bedford-Stuyvesant’s — both have blossomed after upping their games.
“The floral industry in particular has undergone a lot of changes with the onset of the internet,” she says. “We have had to embrace these changes, and find a way for our flower shop to thrive and stand out from all the bigger players on the web.”
Melendez’s eye-pleasing website offers deals of the day, multi-occasion floral arrangements, gift baskets crafted by experts with a passion for posies, and free online delivery.
The Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District has helped her business grow.
“With a business district we are able to command more attention from the city agencies to improve our basic services, such as sanitation,” says Melendez. “It is also instrumental in promoting marketing strategies which would be rather expensive and difficult to complete by individual businesses.”
A business and social revival has buoyed the economic triumph, according to her.
“The upsurge is due in part to the general improvements made by city and state, newer residents moving in, and the attractiveness of living in Brooklyn,” she says.
The spirit of the small business owner is another vital component, and the couple has led area students in flower plantings at Marcy Plaza, donated food and flowers to shelters and church groups, and created a scholarship essay contest for teens about environmental sustainability.
“We believe in being active and making a contribution to the community from which we derive our revenues,” says Melendez.
Flowerworks [547 Nostrand Ave. between Herkimer Place and Pacific Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 230-9393, www.flowerworksflorist.com]