My family has been buying and selling flowers for three generations. I have very fond memories of learning about flowers, and how to buy them, from my grandfather. He began buying flowers on Ludlow Street in Philadelphia prior to World War II. Back then, all buying was done in person. Wholesale buyers visited the market and hand selected many of the flowers. When I learned to buy as a teenager, I often hand-selected many of the flowers that we would sell at Plaza Flowers.
The people I encountered during those early mornings in thirty-five degree coolers, taught me a lot about the freshness of flowers. Most florists were there buying the flowers they needed for orders that day. They were willing to sacrifice freshness for zero risk. They would rather buy older product that has been stored in a wholesaler’s cooler, than place a farm-direct order a week early and speculate that all those flowers would be sold.
I noticed that the wholesaler would give me better pricing on fresher flowers if I forecasted my sales and negotiated my order 2 weeks ahead of time. This proactive approach allowed me to get my desired quantities and varieties packaged for me at the farm. The farm would give me the shipping schedule, so I could pick them up as soon as they arrived in Philadelphia. Plaza Flowers quickly developed a reputation for designing and delivering the longest lasting fresh flowers.
As our volume grew, I realized that I was buying the same amount of flowers as some small wholesalers. I could negotiate directly with the farms and work with a logistics company that specialized in perishables to handle USDA and U.S. Customs inspections and maintain the cold chain right to my door. That gave me more control, better prices, and reduced transportation time by about 36 hours. I increased the vase life of our already long lasting fresh flowers.
After two decades of farm-direct buying, we have cultivated fantastic relationships with many of the finest flower growers in the world. Some grow sunflowers in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and some grow calla lilies in the mountains near Quito, Ecuador. Whether near or far, the goal is the same: Consistently provide colorful varieties of long lasting fresh flowers. Stop in today and experience our farm-direct difference.