EAST MCKEESPORT (KDKA) – Three weeks after a fire ripped through an East McKeesport flower shop, the owner has found a way to keep the business running.
Mary Lechliter-King, owner of Lea’s Floral Shop, said they tried to work out of their garage but needed more space.READ MORE: Man Accused Of Killing Woman In Homewood Pleads Guilty
They’re now creating flower arrangements in the East McKeesport Senior Citizen Community Center. She said it’s all thanks to her supportive community.
It’s time to plant new beginnings after flames ripped through Lea’s Floral Shop on April 10.
Lechliter-King said the second floor is destroyed but they were able to save some items on the first floor.
“The store is pretty much gutted now; we have to start over,” Lechliter-King said. “We thought we would be able to save some stuff from upstairs and pretty much 90 percent is in a dumpster.”
On the morning of April 10, a neighbor alerted Lechliter-King and her employees the shop was on fire then the flames spread to an apartment. A cat didn’t make it out of the fire.
Lechliter-King cherishes the memories of how the shop bloomed 62 years ago.
“These are my grandparents. This is my pappy that started the store, Leo and Dora,” Lechliter-King said as she showed family pictures that survived the fire. “I can’t let what they started, die,” she said.
She takes pride in the fact that the shop has been around for four generations.
“I’m having a hard time walking through there because it’s my mom, and my grandpa and my dad and my kids, it’s family,” Lechliter-King said.
The business also caught fire in 1983.
The community staple isn’t withering away after their second blaze. They’re renting the borough’s senior citizen community center.READ MORE: Lawsuit: Company Owned By West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Owes $166,000
“This is just amazing. I mean in between the fire department, the police, the council. People of East McKeesport, they’ve just been incredible, the support… it’s been awesome,” Lechliter-King said.
Lechliter-King said there were signs of hope in the rubble like pink roses that were still standing in the damage.
Her mom is the one who chose pink roses for the shop’s logo.
Lechliter-King said they plan to put a history wall in the shop and those roses will be on display.
“There’s a poem called roses for mother and it’s about picking a bunch for your mom in heaven. I said she picked a bunch for me, and she gave me a bunch that day,” Lechliter-King said. “She saved this bunch for me, that was just a sign from my mom saying we will be okay.”
Picture frames were damaged but family pictures inside the frames were left undamaged.
”This just tells me, we’ll survive, we’ll make it,” Lechliter-King said.
They will rebuild the shop so it can keep growing in the family.
“I swear every time I go back in it feels worse. It just breaks my heart a little bit more because it’s gone but you have to look at it like what can we do to make this better?” Lechliter-King said.
Lechliter-King said they’re thankful they’ll be open for mother’s day and proms. She said mother’s day is what gets them through the Summer.
The shop and apartment will need to be renovated or rebuilt. They are still in the early stages of planning.MORE NEWS: Businesses Hope Partial Closure Of Fort Duquesne Boulevard Will Breathe Life Back Into Downtown
A spokesperson with Allegheny County has stated that the cause was accidental and was prompted by “improperly discarded smoking material.”