Buck and Ellie Weiks have retired, ending a 36-year run as the owners of Olympia-based Floral Ingenuity and Weiks’ Wild Bird Shop — which, by the way, never sold wild birds, but sells bird supplies.
They officially called it quits Sept. 1 and handed over the keys to Michelle LaPraim, who had run Elle’s Floral Design for two years in Lacey. The business name is now a combination of the two: Elle’s Floral Ingenuity.
Ellie Weiks, 75, said it was time.
“I want to enjoy a little bit of my life,” she said. She and her husband got right to it, too. They loaded up an RV and headed to Oregon, with plans to visit Bend and the Painted Hills.
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“We’re going to have a beer,” she said. “We don’t have to worry anymore.”
Before they opened the business in 1981, Buck Weiks worked for a restaurant in Tumwater and developed a reputation as an artist because of the way he decorated the building during the holidays and Easter. The restaurant eventually closed, but Buck was encouraged to go into business for himself.
However, they faced a daunting economy at that time as interest rates soared to more than 20 percent. But Ellie figured, if they could survive that business environment, they could survive anything.
And so they did. The business grew, and during busy seasons for flowers — Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day — they sometimes had as many as 12 floral designers.
What they’ll miss: The customers that became their friends, she said. “I will miss that social part,” Ellie said.
What they won’t miss: The pressure of on-time deliveries. “People are more demanding nowadays,” she said.
The new owner, LaPraim, has made it a family affair. Her father, Jim Soares, is going to run the bird shop, while her mother, Joanne, will handle flower deliveries. Bayley Kessler, a longtime floral designer, will stay on and continue to design.
If the timing was right for the Weiks, it also was right for LaPraim.
Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes, run by Rachel Young, has a storefront in Lacey that LaPraim joined two years ago. She sold flowers, while Young continued to sell cupcakes. But when the Weiks called her about buying their business, she jumped at the chance.
“I didn’t hesitate to say yes,” she said.
LaPraim called it a great opportunity to establish her own business — and she needed the additional space.
“It was time for us,” she said.
She moved over Labor Day Weekend and was open for business Tuesday.
LaPraim will sell flowers and bird supplies and she will continue to sell Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes.
Elle’s Floral Ingenuity
- Owner: Michelle LaPraim, who bought the business from longtime owners Buck and Ellie Weiks, who retired.
- Location: 2704 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia
- Years in business: Praim just took over last week, after the Weiks ran the business for 36 years.
- Online: You can find the business on Facebook.
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.