Vincent A. Alves, a former boutique and newsstand owner, died on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. He was 96.
He was born on March 7, 1923, in Cuba to his Jamaican parents Vernon Alves and May G. Thomas. He was the second of two boys. At the age of 8, he returned to Jamaica with his parents and settled in Mocho-Clarendon. He attended Calabar High School in Kingston.
In his mid-20s, Alves moved to the U.S., settling in Philadelphia, where he lived for many decades. He worked for E.J. Korvette for 10 years. He was focused on his business and dealings with commerce between Jamaica and the U.S. He opened his first store, Mini Handcrafts Boutique, in the 69th Street Terminal Building in Upper Darby, where he sold handmade imported goods and general merchandise. Alves also operated two newsstands in the 15th Street SEPTA Station and was one of the first Black men to have an exhibitor’s booth at the annual Philadelphia Flower Show, where he was a staple for 39 years.
He married Jessie R. Reid in 1975. Their only child, Melissa, was born in 1979. Alves was overjoyed to see her graduate from Darmouth College and Howard University School of Law.
Renovation of the 69th Street Terminal and the economic downturn in the area slowed business for many years. In 2014, Alves closed his boutique but continued to visit daily and maintain contacts with former employees and friends.
His first daughter, Sonia Alves Ashwood, who had a career in banking, preceded him in death in 2017. His son, Errol Alves, was skilled in welding.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by: his grandchildren, Andre, Nicole and Yanique; niece, Doreen Allen; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Feb. 15 at Camphor United Methodist Church, 5620 Wyalusing Ave. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10 a.m. Burial is in Fernwood Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.