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Chain, Chain, Chain, 2019 version

Chain, Chain, Chain,              2019 version

Back in April of 2014 I wrote an article about the status of Wholesale Florist Chains in The US. A flowersandcents.com follower suggested that I take a new look at the who’s who in US floral wholesaling.

Indeed there were many changes over the last 5+ years, most notably the closing of The Roy Houff company in early 2019.

CompanyLocations 2014
Locations 2019
Ownership
*Baisch and Skinner87Family
BayState Floral45Family
Bill Doran Company1721Family
*Carlstedts1512Alice L. Givens & John T. Cross
Cleveland Plant and Flower Co.107Family
*Dreisbach56Family
Delaware Valley Floral Group711Family
Denver Wholesale1416Employee
Greenleaf Wholesale1610Family
Kennicott/ / Nordile1117Employee
Mayesh Wholesale1719Family
*Mellano & Co.44Family
*Pennock Floral 107Employee
Pikes Peak44Family
Roy Houff Co.80Family / now no one
*Sieck Wholesale66Family
  • * Was not able to reach for comments, so I used website data

I contacted the same companies and here are the results and a summary of their comments:

As the chart clearly shows, Floral remains a family business and that is why this business is driven by personal contact and trust.

1. GROWTH PLANS

Pat Dalhson, Mayesh; “You have to grow to be successful”

Red Kennicott, Kennicott:    “Internal growth to geographic areas which we presently serve”

Bill Lafever, Bill Doran Co: “You have to plan your growth.”

Rob Spikol, Greenleaf: Before moving forward, we must get out of the past

“Recently Greenleaf survived a period that could kill almost any business, this required us to completely change, I mean everything.  Change is extremely difficult, always painful, and at times downright ugly, but if we didn’t make that our top priority we would not be here today. 

Change is and was the most painful part.  The old saying the “bigger you are, the harder you fall….”   Yeah well, it’s true and, our fall was not graceful.  The fall was necessary and a reality check isn’t a bad thing.   In our case so much change was required, it was as close to starting over as anyone can imagine.  There wasn’t a single part of the company that we didn’t rip the top off take a look and change.  It was the only way to save us. 

The change journey we embarked not only changed our situation and direction, it changes our future!”

David Torres, DWF (Denver Wholesale Florist)

“To grow by identifying those opportunities that fit our values and culture, and will benefit from our business practices. “

Tim Dewey, Delaware Valley Floral Group:

  1. “Maintain and build upon Sales in Existing Distribution areas for now while seeking acquisition opportunity within our service areas. ( 10 States on Eastern Seaboard)”

Ty Dickinson, Baystate Flowers:

“Growth plans are to drive sales through service and product quality. In addition we are looking to acquire new customers in our current market and looking to expand to other markets where our product and service may be valued.”

Kevin Priest, Cleveland Plant and Flower Co:

“Growth Plans = If we had a great manager for a new locations we would open more. Not easy to find (Great managers).”

Jim Haley, Pikes Peak:

“Growth is slow and competition tough”

2. State of the industry

Pat Dalhson, Mayesh: “We are Bullish on the industry, there are opportunities out there.”

Jim Haley, Pikes Peak: “We are moving forward with Komet sales in hopes of giving our clients better service”

Red Kennicott, Kennicott: “healthy, but changing more rapidly than ever”

Bill LaFever, Bill Doran: “We are optimistic on the industry, same pie less players in it”

Rob Spikol, Greenleaf:

“Actually I believe the State of the Industry is in good shape for those able to see what it has to offer. But be careful, I am Optimistic

You really need to break it down into the different segments to expose the industry as a whole but I really believe, and the Owners, Board and Company believe as well that there is incredible opportunities for growth within the industry right now.   If you are an organization with capability to grow, you can do it expeditiously.”

David Torres, DWF

“Dynamic and always evolving and still full of opportunities.”

Tim Dewey: Delaware Valley (DVFG)

  1. How do you define the state of the industry?
  • Demand is strong during peak Prom, Wedding, Event Seasons and Holidays, however outside of these periods retail/event business is lower than it used to be. More peaks and valleys.
  • Massive Consolation occurring in supplies and large growers facilitating vertically integrated supply chains not previously possible- this is a potential risk for wholesalers.
  • Customers looking for wider ranges of novelty products and varieties to differentiate from mass markets in their offerings to consumers.  Provides inventory management challenges for wholesalers.
  • As always the future is somewhat uncertain- we are as healthy as long as our customers are healthy and the long-term outlook is somewhat cloudy, but that’s nothing new.  It is encouraging to see young entrants into the event only and retail business and this for sure is healthy for the sector we are engaged in.
  • Customers are asking for more locally and American Grown Flowers, which provides opportunity for growers.

Ty Dickinson, Baystate:

“The floral industry is going through tremendous change.  The customer base is evolving.  As established shops go out of business due to retirement or economic hardship, new florists fill the void.  The impact of B to C providers on the industry is growing with new entrants in to the market and some established ones leaving.  All small businesses are facing labor challenges and also cost increases.  Managing costs while growing sales will be imperative to survive in the future. “

Kevin Priest: CPFC

“It is more grabbing others piece of the pie than actual market growth. Retailers continue to retire / close without selling to another person who will continue that business. A/R is harder / longer to collect.”

3. Seven – ten year outlook 

Rob Spikol, Greenleaf:

“Our company will be considerably larger by volume measurements 7 to 10 years from now.  Our Growth Plan does not necessarily mean we will need to accomplish that by having locations everywhere.  In fact, earlier we shared that our growth is people centric.  By that I mean we need the right talent within our walls in order to successfully continue to increase our sales.  We will not be able to do it alone.”

Red Kennicott, Kennicott: “Continuing to grow and serve our customers better, by leveraging our core strengths to respond to our customers’ needs.”

David Torres,DWF:

“Growing and more efficient as we continue to embrace technology.”

Tim Dewey: DVFG:

“Continued growth through deployment of logistics and software technology to help us manage the business optimally to serve our customers in the most effective manner.”

Ty Dickinson, Baystate:

“The 7-10 year horizon is a far away.  Bay State will be efficient, profitable and delivering consistent quality and great value. “

Kevin Priest, CPFC:

“10 year outlook = We have a 5th generation now in our business so hoping to continue adapting to changes and continuing to operate the business.”

Pat Dalhson, Mayesh:

“People And logistics are what drives this business.” Acquisitions are not easy but can be a successful growth strategy”

Summary

The results here are much like those from the first survey. If you can find good managers to run branches then you have a good chance of succeeding in a new market.
Having a next generation to take the reigns is a vital component in growth and longevity.

As I travel around this floral world I am most pleased to see many second, third and even forth generations entering the business.


The pie is not getting much bigger and competitors are forced to cannibalize or consolidate with each other to gain market share.

Thank you for reading!

Williee Armellini
Editor and Owner: Flowersandcents.com
williee@flowersandcents.com

1 Comment

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    Also, American Floral Wholesale (Pensacola, FL), opened 2 new locations in the last 5 years, and then closed them all in September of 2018.

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