Gail Royal opened Westside Florist in 1984 when the Seal Cove Shops mall was first built. She now plans to retire and close the shop; a new year-round business is slated to move in. PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTSIDE FLORIST

Flower shop to close



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — After 35 years of providing the perfect pick-me-ups and colorful bouquets for special occasions, Westside Florist is set to close its doors for good at the end of the month.

Owner Gail Royal was one of the first to open a business at the Seal Cove Shops on Seal Cove Road when the mall was built in 1984.

“They were brand new,” she said about the first section of buildings in the mall. “I was able to design it the way I wanted it … I’ve expanded over the years a couple of times.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTSIDE FLORIST

Royal chose to open a flower and gift shop because she had been working in the field since high school. Her first job was at M.A. Clark, an Ellsworth flower shop. After graduating, Royal worked for florists in Bangor and Pennsylvania before opening her own shop in Southwest Harbor.

“I enjoyed the people and I enjoyed the work,” said Royal about being around flowers. “It was a very gradual growth. It really took several seasons to become established. I’ve always felt fortunate that the town I live in has really supported me.”

While Royal has a loyal customer base, she also has incredible loyalty in her employees, most of whom have been with her for an average of 20 years.

“The things I like the most about working in this shop are the people I meet and designing [bouquets],” said Royal, “and my staff.”

A new year-round business is slated to move into the space Westside Florist now occupies, according to Royal. The store, a boutique for pregnant moms, new babies and young children, will be called Little Islanders.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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