Beginning as a small flower retailer, DV Flora is a growing business, and now a major player in the wholesale floral industry of New York City and its five boroughs.
Delaware Valley Wholesale began in 1959 as a small floral wholesaler in Southern New Jersey. Bob Wilkins Sr. and his wife, Doris, would sell their cut stems at the Philadelphia Flower show. Little did they know, this was the start of what has now become a massive operation with deep roots in the Northeast as well as branches reaching outposts in California and Bogotá. It is an exciting journey that was started many years ago, and we are excited to hear about this industry icon.
We were fortunate enough to work with DV Flora on a regular basis and were excited to sit down and meet with Claudine Perez, Event Procurement and Logistics, along with Tony Solina, Procurement Manager, Event Division to learn more about DV Flora.
Bride & Blossom: “You’ve both been with the company through many changes, not only in the event industry itself but also during the different stages of DV Flora. What are some of the most significant moments that stand out to you?”
Claudine: “We’ve made the change, evolution really, from “wholesaler” to “floral procurement.” Our process is very thoughtful and long reaching. We deal in larger volumes than most wholesalers can and with a high-quality product. Because of our infrastructure and size, we can offer consistently exceptional products at various levels, which allows us to market to a wider range of clients.“
Tony: “Our florals are from all over the world, and we partner directly with farmers, many of whom we have long-running relationships with and visit on a regular basis. This ensures the highest level of practices are being maintained and we continue our close partnership with the farmers.
One event can represent over fifteen different countries. We procure from Holland, of course, but there could also be flowers from various locations, including Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Guatemala, among others.”
Tony: “One of the most exciting developments has been in procurement; where we source our flowers. I’ve visited Japan three times in the past year to secure our newest partner in floral procurement. Japanese florals are amazing, and they offer a larger variety for some of our most popular flowers than anywhere else in the world. With this addition to our offerings, we are now able to source the most beautiful sweet pea, anemone, and ranunculus, among other flowers, unlike any available elsewhere in the world.
We are also sourcing from here in the U.S. From California we are seeing some gorgeous homegrown favorites and more local flowers, which for us, is in the Northeast, as well as potted plants and tropicals from Florida.”
Claudine: “Another change is the amount of technology at our fingertips now. When the company began, the owners shared a desk and one adding machine. Now we have technology at every step of the process, end to end. There is never a moment when we don’t know where our flowers are along the process.
Our facilities process large quantities of flowers every day, and we have detailed checks at numerous points along the processing and distribution process.”
Tony: “Just to give you some idea of our processing capabilities, our floral warehouse is over 70,000 square feet and holds thousands of flowers. Our fleet includes 100 local refrigerated delivery trucks; we also have a 60,000 square foot hard goods facility with over 5,000 floral supply selections and a greenhouse offering over 500 different varieties of foliage and blooming plants.”
Bride & Blossom: “What do you see in the future for DV Flora and the event industry?”
Claudine: “Regarding the event industry, I think the future holds no bounds. Anything is possible, each event is like a fingerprint, and each one is unique. There is so much focus on the floral industry now because of the internet; it has really opened the world to what we do with events.”
Tony: “The world is opening to us as well, regarding procurement. We’re very excited to begin this new “Japan Chapter” and bringing the beauty of that world to our clients, and looking for new ones as we travel the globe.”
With so many innovations and care for each client, we can see why this industry staple has been going strong for close to sixty years. We’re excited to see what the world of flowers and events holds for DV Flora in the next chapter!