BY DAVID SORENSEN DICKS PENNSYLVANIA — A Florida woman who has been on a crusade to save her hometown’s historic PENNNYELLER family business from demolition said she has a few options to save the family business.
The PENNNYELLERS, who opened in 1891, have been on the market for years, and were demolished by the city of Pensacola in 2015.
“We have two options,” said Debbie O’Malley, who has worked for the family for over two decades.
“One is to take it all away.
Or the other is to do what they did and make it work again.
And that’s what we are doing.”
The family business, which has been closed since 2015, was a pioneer in making floral and textiles, and O’Lumsons mother, Alice, founded the business with her husband, Robert, in 1892.
Bob Pernseyell built his family business out of his father’s home in Pensacolooa, a coastal town about 50 miles southeast of Tampa, and the PENNHERS also built and maintained the family home in St. Petersburg.
The family also owned a jewelry store called the Pernnys.
In 1911, the PENNYELLES moved their business to Pensacole, where they opened a store at 1631 South Point Road.
In 1918, the family bought the PENCESA HOUSE at 1600 North Point Road in Pensaccia.
In 1923, the business changed hands when Alice married the brother of the current owner.
At the time, Alice was a nurse and Robert was a plumber.
Alice and Robert Pernseys were the first to open a flower shop in the United States, and they opened the first flower shop on the East Coast in 1920.
Pernseys family history is well-known in Pensocola, and most of the business is housed at their home.
While the family’s history is significant, O’Malson said she hopes the new owners will do what the family did and build a second family business again.
The PENNIES family has built more than 25 business entities in Pensicola, including one that is open for business at their St. Pete home, a flower store and a printing company.
O’MALSON said the PENCEllies family is the epitome of Florida history.
She said that the PENSIESs are a part of Pensaccioa and have been for generations.
“If we can’t continue, the rest of the country will not,” O’Millonsaid.
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