How do you stop a flower shop from taking the place of a flower seller in Lexington?
With a little help from a bunch of local flowers, at least.
The Lexington Flower Shop is one of many businesses that have popped up in the town of Lexington in recent years.
They’re trying to compete with the blossoms of other shops, including a new boutique on Lexington Avenue, and some local businesses have gone as far as to shut down their flower shops altogether.
“The flowers are so much more than just flowers,” says Rebecca LeBoeuf, an attorney with the Lexington Fair Housing Action Center.
“They’re part of the fabric of our community.”
LeBoeueuf is part of a group of community activists who have been fighting to stop these flower shops from taking up space in the city.
“We don’t want a flower store.
We don’t even want to be in a flower business.
We want a business that’s not selling flowers,” LeBueuf says.
LeBueus has been fighting for a change in the law for a few years.
She and other community leaders have lobbied to make the flower shop law so flower shops could continue to exist.
“I think the law is not working, and that it’s a really sad commentary on the city’s ability to serve its citizens,” Le Boeuf says of the law.
The law would have required a flower vendor to apply for a permit to open, which would have been considered a business license.
But LeBieus says that doesn’t make them legal.
“It’s a loophole.
We have to go to court to get a license to do this,” LeBsueuf said.
“There are so many flowers out there that are not legal.
They don’t sell flowers.
They sell products, and they’re not considered businesses.”
LeBsueus says many flower shops that operate outside of Lexington’s boundaries have been forced to close because of zoning laws.
“I have clients who come in who can’t get flowers because the zoning laws have been set up to shut them down,” Le Boeuf says, adding that she has received death threats.
“If you don’t have a flower in town, they don’t see you,” LeBoeuf said, adding, “That’s not okay.”
Lexington has a history of having a flower industry.
In 1859, James and Mary Gorman opened a flower nursery in Lexington and later expanded to sell and ship flowers.
In the mid-20th century, the Gorman family purchased a home in the neighborhood and opened a shop there.
In 2008, the family moved to the nearby town of Newberry.
Newberry residents say the business has grown over the years and even opened a second shop in 2014.
They say they are concerned about the impact of these businesses on the neighborhood.
“This is a neighborhood that has been impacted by these businesses,” said neighbor Patricia Williams.
“This is something that’s going to affect our kids.”
Leboeuf is hoping that her group will be able to convince the town to pass a law to prohibit the flower shops.
“There’s so many other flower shops,” Leboeuf explains.
“We’re going to be able have some of them open in Newberry.”