Medical District-Peabody Vance Neighborhood
Resident; Owner of Ritzee Florist & Interior Designs since 1988; President of the Peabody Vance Neighborhood Association
Number of years being a part of the Medical-District?
I am the first Peabody Vance Neighborhood Association president since its inception in 2007. In 2007 we were not considered a part of the Medical District it was not until meeting with Dr. Brown of U.T. in 2014 that the underserved neighborhood was considered and adopted as apart of what is now known to be the Medical District
How did you get involved in the work you do now?
I’m an accountant, therapist, actress, author of non-fiction stories and a business owner of Ritzee Florist since 1988. After my store fronts in East Memphis and Downtown Memphis, I choose to change with time and instead of a storefront business, I decided to create a home-based business so that I could freely travel, freelance design and put more time into inspiring positive change through performance arts and storytelling.
I had no idea I would purchase a property in a distressed poor area, but I did, and that is when the harder work began. I then realized I was chosen to work towards the image of a neighborhood that had been ran by many slumlords and uncaring people that took advantage of the poor. The neighborhood was known as a dangerous and dilapidated area, With, hard work and the support of anchors, businesses, property owners and community leaders, things are changing.
My husband (Darryl) and I started the neighborhood association in 2007; we rolled our sleeves up and have been working towards positive change ever since. It has been a long hard journey and the work is still not complete.
What drives you to improve your business/organization?
My drive is always to inspire others to make positive change, do good work, and change negative images - starting with the self- first.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up and hit the floor with excitement to challenge the items that were left on my to-do list. Grab a cup of coffee, run to my computer, paper-work, emails, phone calls to painting a wall, creating flowers, playing with my dog, and back to my computer. My days are long and full of exciting choices to do and work on.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
My favorite thing to do is make others smile, design flowers, work out, walk, travel, sit near water, write, and plan activities that bring people together. I am also the President of a non-profit organization called healing the land globally.
This is an organization that ministers to less fortunate people.
How does the Medical District stand out from the rest of the city to you?
The most rewarding part of my hard work is to see the residents, stakeholders, business owners and investors work together to change the image of a “hood” to a neighborhood. What’s rewarding is to have the support needed to bring new development our way.
What do you hope to see in the future for the Medical District?
In the future I hope to see a unified area that is richly impressive. I hope to see the development shared among all neighborhoods so that everyone is proud to live, work, worship, and travel through the Medical District.
Shelda Edwards is a designer and illustrator building a brand on inclusively. Her visually playful work normalizes body positivity and encourages dialogue around gender and self-identity. Since starting her career in 2015, Shelda has worked in non-profit, tech, advertising, fundraising, and marketing. A few of her favorite projects included working with clients who are giving back to their communities. Follow Shelda on Instagram @legendofshelda