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IFE gives back to the Chicago community
The International Floral Expo attracted nearly 2,000 floral industry professionals to Chicago June 20-22 and also impacted two local nonprofits, Random Acts of Flowers Chicago and Habitat for Humanity ReStore Chicago. Both groups sent staff and volunteers to McCormick Place to pick up thousands of floral donations at the conclusion of the show, according to a news release. A team from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Chicago collected and processed 90 pallets... Read more
SAF heads to Maui for annual convention Sept. 21-24
The Society of American Florists will hold its 132nd annual convention Sept. 21-24 at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua in Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. With more than 20 educational programs covering attracting, training and keeping talent, increasing sales, protecting your online brand, understanding how to better use technology and more, a news release encourages florists to “go for business — stay for the sunsets.” More than 450 people networked at... Read more
According to a report from Dow Jones Business News, Zelenka Farms, a plant grower for big-box retailers including Lowe’s, Kmart, Shopko and Home Depot, has filed for bankruptcy protection, blaming an unusually wet spring. Zelenka Farms and several affiliated companies face roughly $187.7 million in debt, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas. Lawyers who put Zelenka Farms into chapter 11 protection told a judge they are looking for... Read more
According to a recent article in MIT Technology Review, Monsanto is working on anti-aging technology for flowers using genetic alterations it can feed through vase water. In its patent application, the company disclosed that it’s testing a new way of stopping roses, petunias and carnations from wilting, which could help get flowers to supermarkets just as they’re ready to bloom. Monsanto is attempting to develop temporary, spray-on genetic alterations... Read more
IFE buyers, exhibitors and attendees numbers up across the board
The International Floriculture Expo was held June 20-22 at McCormick Place in Chicago in conjunction with United Fresh, FMI Connect and the Global Cold Chain Expo, creating a massive trade show experience. “We are still waiting on final numbers,” Lora Burns, IFE conference coordinator, told The Produce News. “But we are up across the board in buyer attendance (15 percent), education session attendees (20 percent), and exhibiting companies (30... Read more
PMA’s Floral Council addresses mass-market floral’s key business priorities
Mass-market retail’s floral departments are making an increasing contribution to store and chain performance. These floral sales have grown at a stronger like-store pace than overall store business for the past five years. Corporate leaders have taken note that their floral departments are growing profitable sales, while also connecting with customers in a very strong way. That said, our floral departments haven’t had the same kind of business information... Read more
Floral designer finds ‘inspiration’  at 2016 AIFD symposium in California
This year’s American Institute of Floral Designers Symposium was held in Orange County, CA, and hundreds of floral designers and creative types converged on the Marriott Anaheim for a five-day conference appropriately named “Inspiration.” The week began with all the regional meetings and installation of new officers. I am proud to say that I was inducted as the new president of the Northeast region, which is quite an honor, and I only hope that... Read more
The 2016 Farwest Show in Portland, OR, Aug. 25-27 announced the addition of a retail garden center tour as one of three pre-show tour options, according to a news release. The Local Favorites and Must-See Destination Garden Centers tour will showcase several of the area’s most innovative and successful retail garden centers. The retail-focused tour takes place on Aug. 24 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and is in addition to two wholesale-focused tours. Tour attendees... Read more
Blooming of Beloit celebrates 20 years in harmony with nature
Shlomo Danieli has spent his entire life following his passion for flowers. Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, in 1946, Danieli studied agriculture, genetic floriculture and science education at the Hebrew University, in addition to marketing and managing at the Israel Institute of Technology. He came to the United States in 1981 and by 1987 he was the owner of S.D. Trading in Chicago, a wholesaler and trader of fresh cut flowers. In 1995, he sold S.D. Trading and in 1996,... Read more
The Christmas tree that graces the Capitol lawn in Washington, DC, also called “The People’s Tree,” will come from the Payette National Forest in Idaho this year. “It needs to be between 60 and 85 feet tall, so it’s a huge tree,” said Brian Harris from the Payette National Forest in a news release. “It needs to have that shape and color, and all the branches filled in — really the same thing you’d be looking... Read more
Bergen’s Greenhouses poinsettias are on target for the holidays
Bergen’s Greenhouses is a fourth-generation family-owned business, based in Detroit Lakes, MN, and is the largest poinsettia wholesaler in the area, according to Chris Bergen, president and owner. It is also one of the top 50 greenhouse growers in the United States. “Poinsettias have a rich history with the holiday season,” Bergen said in a news release. “We sell to several of the supermarket chains and other mass markets. We sell to the... Read more
James O. (Jim) Nordlie passed away June 1 at the age of 93. After his return from military service in World War II and graduation from the University of Michigan, Jim operated Nordlie Inc., a Michigan-based fresh-cut flower and supply wholesaler started by his father. The employee-owned company merged with Kennicott Bros. Co. in 2014. Nordlie also served as president of the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association from 1966 through 1968, was honored... Read more
Esmeralda Farms founder and floral sector pioneer Peter Ullrich dies
Peter Ullrich, the founder of Esmeralda Farms, based in Miami, passed away on June 29 after a difficult battle with cancer. He was born in 1942 in Bad Wildungen, Germany, where his parents operated a small flower shop, and moved to the United States in 1962 with just $200 and a dream, according to a statement from Connectaflor in Miami. In the late 1960s, Ullrich began to make extra money wholesaling flowers. Twice a week he would drive his tiny MGB to the airport... Read more
Delaware Valley Floral Group announced a major expansion at its corporate headquarters in Sewell, NJ, and opened a new floral supply logistics center in West Deptford, NJ. The expansion includes 25,000 square feet of new refrigerated warehousing at the Sewell facility and 65,000 square feet of warehousing for floral supplies at a new location in West Deptford. “The expansion at our Sewell headquarters and the new West Deptford facility will provide the needed... Read more
The Delaware Valley Floral Group has reached an agreement to acquire certain assets of the Pittsburgh Cut Flower Co., with the acquisition to be completed on Aug. 1, according to a news release. PCF is a 118-year-old wholesaler serving Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. It is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has another location in Erie, PA. “We are pretty excited about this,” Ken Wilkins, DVFG’s vicepresident of business development, said.... Read more
The times, they are a-changin’ (again)
The floral industry recently lost a pioneering icon in Peter Ullrich. In the 1960s, Bob Dylan was singing about how “the times, they are a-changin’” and Ullrich was moving from Germany to the United States “with just $200 and a dream.” And the 1970s were definitely a time of major changes in the floral industry when Ullrich started growing pompoms in Colombia, thereby creating an economical supply of high-quality flowers and facilitating... Read more
Start planning now for selling Christmas  hardgoods in your store’s floral department
Summertime usually conjures up thoughts of beaches and cookouts, but how many supermarket floral departments think of Christmas in July or August? Well this is exactly the time of year that stores should be thinking about how their departments will be laid out, how items will be put together, and how they will ensure that they’re well prepared for the Christmas selling season. Proper planning will also help avoid last minute scrambling to find products that... Read more
How can supermarkets sell more Christmas greens?
With the spring holidays behind us, supermarkets will begin to focus on plans for their fall and winter programs. Ideally, floral departments have already completed their holiday planning, however, many have not yet begun. Having dealt with various supermarket chains over the years, it’s clear to see why some are so successful with selling Christmas greens while others are not. Early planning is crucial to achieving a prosperous holiday season. At the close... Read more
Wisconsin grower provides official 2016 White House Christmas tree
The fourth time proved to be the charm for Dave Vander Velden, from Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Oconto, WI, when he finally received the Grand Champion prize for his Balsam fir tree after entering the National Christmas Tree Association’s National Christmas Tree Contest four times. Whispering Pines Tree Farm, which grows a variety of firs and pines, will now provide the official 2016 White House Christmas tree. Since 1966, NCTA members have presented the... Read more
Memorial Day Flowers Foundation honors fallen service members
For the sixth consecutive year the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation organized the donation, headstone placement and handout of flowers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, to honor the nation’s fallen service members and their loved ones. In addition to the large presence at Arlignton, the foundation sponsored floral tributes at six other national cemeteries around the country Arizona National Cemetery in Phoenix; Fort Snelling National Cemetery... Read more