After more than 50 years in the floral business, Alders Wholesale Florist in Campbell Hall, New York serves as a shining example of the virtues of hard work when it comes to running a family business.
The Times Herald-Record reports that Henry Alders, the founder of Alders Wholesale Florist, has been in business for 56 years. Though he does not own or operate a greenhouse, he acts as a distributor for flowers grown around the world, as well as for floral suppliers and boutiques. He opened his business in 1959 when Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, though amazingly he’s been in the floral business for even longer than that.
“My father had a truck farm,” Alders said, reminiscing about his childhood in the town of Florida, New York (appropriately located in Orange County). His father, he said, “grew strawberries, potatoes, and had some chickens. He also grew gladiolus, which I started peddling when I was 16.”
Alders entered the Army as a young man, spending much of his time stationed in Germany. Discharged from the Army in 1958 (the same year in which Elvis Presley entered the Army and was stationed in Germany), he returned home to the Hudson Valley, unclear of what to do for a living. During his honeymoon with his wife, Irmgard, Alders visited a farmer in Fort Myers, Florida who had contacted him about the possibility of distributing his flowers. Shortly after the honeymoon, Alders decided to accept the deal, and what is now the Alders Wholesale Florist shop was born in a two-car garage.
A lucrative industry, the floral industry generates approximately $7 billion in revenue every year.
Henry and Irmgard sold flowers from various greenhouses and growers, including the Rockland County greenhouse. Henry would also drive to Manhattan three times a week to purchase flowers from the borough’s flower market.
Since then, the business has more than thrived, expanding twice — once in 1987 and once in 1996. Though Alders Wholesale Florist only sells to wholesale customers (as its name would suggest), it manages to do phenomenally well in sales of both flowers and floral products such as decorations and pots.
The business currently employs 43 people, including Alders’ daughter Heidi, the company’s accountant, and his son Tom, one of the managers.