JEFFERSON PARK — A longtime family-run flower and plant shop is closing permanently after more than 70 years on the Far Northwest Side.
Wall’s Flower Shop, Inc., 5862 W. Higgins Ave., will close before the end of the year and is getting rid of its inventory in a big clearance sale, owner Marie Kuehlhorn-Nishijima said.
Kuehlhorn-Nishijima’s parents opened the store in 1947 at West Addison Street and North Kilbourn Avenue in Old Irving Park, said her cousin, Krissy Naylor. Naylor said her grandmother worked at the shop when she was young, and it was a summer job for various family members.
In 1994, Kuehlhorn-Nishijima and her husband bought the business from her parents and moved it to its current location. The two ran it for years together until they separated. Now, Kuehlhorn-Nishijima and her son run the shop, but she said she’s ready to retire.
“I would like to express my thanks for [customers’] patronage throughout the years, and I will miss them,” Kuehlhorn-Nishijima said.
The owner said she plans to spend time with her grandchildren after closing the business, but retiring was a difficult decision to make.
Kuehlhorn-Nishijima said the community is losing not only a florist and access to hundreds of flowers and plants, but also an independent, family-run operation.
“Another one is going down … that seems to be the trend,” she said. “It’s unfortunate for the whole city.”
Also in Jefferson Park, American Science & Surplus at 5316 N. Milwaukee Ave. plans to move to the suburbs in January. In Portage Park, a family-run empanada shop closed in the summer, and the husband-and-wife duo behind Home Line Decoration, also called Al-Bazzar at 4358 N. Cicero Ave., are struggling to stay in business and are having a holiday sale, among others.
While these shops are closing due to financial strains and low sales, Kuehlhorn-Nishijima said the pandemic brought more sales over the past two years for her company.
Like other plant and flower shops, business has been buzzing because people pivoted to working from home and had more time to care for plants. Some sent floral arrangements to loved ones they could not see in person.
“I was busier the last few years than I have been before, ever since the pandemic,” she said. “People were shut in and could not see their families, so they sent flowers.”
Still, Kuehlhorn-Nishijima said the decline of family-run shops impacts the community and she is sad to let the business go.
Wall’s Flower Shop has several plants, flower bouquets, planters, floral supplies, wreaths and holiday decorations on sale for 50 percent off. Kuehlhorn-Nishijima said she hopes folks will stop in for holiday shopping within the next few weeks and help empty the shelves.
A pizza restaurant is slated to take over the space, she said.
Wall’s Flower Shop helped Far Northwest Siders with everything from birthday parties to weddings, engagement parties, graduations and funerals.
Naylor, who grew up in Jefferson Park and lives in Dunning, said the business closing is a tough pill to swallow and is a loss to the neighborhood, especially as the floral industry gets more commercialized.
“You can’t get quality arrangements at grocery stores,” Naylor said. “Marie and the family were legendary for their local arrangements.”
For as long as Naylor can remember, Wall’s Flower Shop catered all of the family’s wedding flowers, and she often recommended Kuehlhorn-Nishijima to her friends.
“They were all happy with the quality and the beauty of work,” she said.
Wall’s Flower Shop is open 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday for the next few weeks, and it offers delivery and curbside pickup.
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