Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, December 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 32° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Then and Now: Spokane Flower Growers Association

The Spokane Flower Growers Association organized around 1925 to help a dozen or more Spokane and Idaho greenhouse operators market and ship their flowers to florists and stores around the region. In the early 1930s, the cooperative took over one of the large warehouses on Havermale Island, giving it convenient access to trains for shipping products.

The warehouse had state-of-the-art refrigeration and storage to care for the perishable commodity. Over the years, roses came from Hughes Greenhouse in Post Falls; chrysanthemums, kalanchoe and begonias from Willard Haase’s greenhouse on the South Hill; and bedding plants from Smith Brothers in Hillyard, in addition to several other producers. The Havermale warehouse took and filled orders for the British Columbia towns of Trail and Nelson, as well as Eastern Washington, Oregon, Montana and even North Dakota.

As the co-op expanded, it faced competition from the David L. Jones Co., started by Jones, a Seattle businessman, in 1939. For much of its life, the firm was locally run by Rolland Farnsworth, with his brother Oscar, at 24 W. Second St.

A 1973 Spokane Chronicle news story said the floral wholesalers each topped $1 million in annual sales.

By the 1970s, most flowers sold in the U.S., including those shipped from the Spokane wholesale houses, came from foreign countries where weather was conducive to year-round cultivation and labor was cheap. Spokane Flower Growers, which left its Havermale warehouse just ahead of Expo ’74, incorporated as an independent company and eventually changed its name to Glacier Mountain Floral Suppliers. The former Jones company was purchased by Spokane businessman Bob Hamacher in 2003 and renamed Roses and More. In 2005, Hamacher purchased Glacier Mountain. Roses and More is the largest flower distributor in the region. Roses and More also has branches in Missoula and Boise.

Flower distribution once done by train is now done by one of the largest networks of trucks and couriers in the Northwest. “I have always said we are a trucking company that delivers flowers,” Hamacher told The Spokesman-Review last year. His company, now based in Spokane Valley, distributes everywhere from the Cascade Mountains to the Dakotas and from the Canadian border to Utah. In 2016, he added a large Montana courier fleet. “We go into every single town in Montana,” he said.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com