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Generations in Floral…. a closer look


I have been in the floral Industry long enough now to witness the next generation of floral professionals taking charge.  At the recently held IFE show held in Chicago I noticed many floral company owners had brought their children with them. It is true that some were there with Mom or Dad because it was summer and kids are out of school. So why not take them to an expo and show them what this flower stuff is all about.

I am well aware of a number of Miami companies that are now on second or even third generations involved in the business.  This is special for Miami since the floral import business did not start until the late 70s and therefore legacies could only begin there. As well there is also a legacy of floral families in South America. Elite Flowers, and Jardines de Colombia come to mind.

However, when it comes to floral dynasties the traditional wholesale and retail florists have the most to brag about. Companies like Kennicott’s from Chicago.est 1836 and Bachman’s From Minneapolis est  1885.

Kennicott is now an employee owned company but there are seven generations of Kennicott’s still involved in Floral today. What a testimony to business that brings with it all the challenges of selling a perishable product and all the beauty of selling a product that is so perishable.

Not to mention the challenges of keeping a family business together as a unit.

 “How important are family businesses to the US economy?  The news channels are always saying that small companies are where job growth is but what is the impact?

  The FFI, Family Firm Institute,) states the following for the US:-

At least half of all companies in the US are family businesses (Harvard Business School)
Family businesses contribute 63% of the US GDP.
Family businesses show higher profitability in the long run.
Family businesses are less likely to lay people off and more likely to hire despite the possibility of an economic downturn.”

find more data: (http://www.ffi.org/

But how important is succession?  Again   “According to The Family Firm Institute, only about 30% of family businesses survive into the second generation, 12% are still viable into the third generation, and only about 3% of all family businesses operate into the fourth generation or beyond.”  So succession should be an important part of any family owned business’ planning process.”

I can speak about this with some experience as my family’s floral trucking and Logistics Company; Armellini Industries is now in its 3rd generation of family management.

So what does this say about our floral industry? I suggest that there are many reasons why the children of owners would want to work for Mom or Dad’s company. First, let’s face it, if your parents own the company, there’s a good chance you have grown up working there, like it or not. As you grew this job was temporary, as you finished your education, or perhaps it was the only place that would hire you or maybe along the way you discovered that you really like working with people and flowers. If Mom and Dad have done well you might just realize that there is money to be made in flowers and decide this is for me.

In any case this continuity can be a huge value to the company and the industry hopefully preventing the company from becoming a sad statistic.

I did a survey of wholesale florists about one year ago and one of the major concerns was the aging workforce at store level. Not all floral jobs are so great that they attract lots of applicants and, like many industries, keeping fresh and motivated employees is something all companies need to keep in mind.

All the more reason that I am happy to see companies and legacies live on in floral.

It should also come as no surprise that Europe has the US beat in terms of generations as they started long before we did. I was told by one Florist that his family is in its 9th generation of florists. I have not done any in depth research but rest assured that Europe has deep floral roots and legacies. Some of those legacies have cross the pond long ago and live on here in the US.

Certainly one of the best outcomes of a floral legacy is that new blood brings with it new ideas and new ways of doing business. Upgrading from the old to the new and seeking better ways to sell flowers and explore new markets.

I would love to hear back from anyone in a long term floral family so I can add you to my list of companies for my ongoing research into this fascinating subject. All I need to know is:

Company name:

Year established:

Number of generations still in the business:

Family name: (optional)

Comments: (optional) tell me as much or little as you like:


Williee Armellini
Editor: Flowersandcents.com

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