The Society of American Florists (SAF) handed out a number of awards at its 121st Annual Convention held September 28-October 1, 2005 in Lake Las Vegas, Nev. The awards went to some distinguished people, companies and programs that have made a difference in this industry.
Alex Laurie Award
The 2005 Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education was presented to Dr. Kevin Heinz, head of the entomology department at Texas A&M University.
Heinz’s pioneering work advanced the use of biological controls in ornamental production. He was one of the first university scientists to achieve biological control on a floriculture crop, according to SAF. He is best known for his insight on underlying ecological principles of controlling insect populations in the greenhouse.
Floral Management’s Marketer of the Year
Frances Hopkins, president and CEO of Under a Foot Plant Company, Salem, Ore., is the winner of the 2005 Floral Management’s Marketer of the Year award.
Hopkins founded Under A Foot Company in 1996 and launched the “Good for Your Sole” campaign in 2004. Through P.O.P., marketing materials and a Web site, the campaign urges consumers to try out the company’s Stepables line of hardy groundcovers. Due to the campaign, plant tag sales are up 50 percent to Hopkins’ 23 grower partners, and she expects gross sales to be up 40 percent by 2006. By 2007, Hopkins plans to distribute Stepables globally, while increasing the line from 130 to 400 plant varieties.
The 2005 Century Award was given to four 100-year old companies: Lindskoog Florist, Minneapolis, Minn.; Virginia Greenhouse and Floral, Virginia, Minn.; Furst Florist and Garden Center, Dayton, Ohio; and Ball Horticultural, West Chicago, Ill.
This award was first presented in 1982 to honor companies that have served the floral industry for 100 years or more.
Ball Horticulture was founded in 1905 by George Jacob Ball, a cut flower breeder and grower who started the business by selling seed. Today, the company provides research, production and marketing of ornamental crops.
Furst Florist and Garden Center is in its forth generation of Furst ownership. The company has been selling flowers in the same location in Dayton, Ohio, since opening in 1905. The store started out as a horse drawn cart and has moved to a 70-employee family business.
When Lindskoog Florist opened up 100 years ago, the florist could only make a few deliveries a day. Today, it makes between 50 and 100. Since 1904 the company has moved three times and gone from about 3-4 employees to 22.
Since opening its doors in 1904, Virginia Greenhouse & Floral Company has survived the stock market crash, the Great Depression, two world wars and the rise of discount retailers and mass merchants. But the company prides itself on staying successful because of its unique selection, variety of gift items and good customer service.