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History of the St. Louis Flower Market

The flower market in St. Louis has been a way of life since 1890 when a core of wholesale florists congregated at the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Pine Street. After more than 35 years in operation, the wholesalers were crowded out by the rapidly growing demand for commercial space in the downtown area. They decided to join together to start construction on a new flower market approximately two miles away from their current location. A large building was erected on the south side of the 2700 block of LaSalle Street, originally divided into eleven sections separated by a tile wall running from the basement up through the second floor. This new flower market opened in the fall of 1927, providing a consolidated location for the vendors who were the main source of fresh flowers, foliage, and plants for the retail florists of St. Louis and surrounding areas.

LaSalle Wholesale Company was founded in 1940 by Willis and Mae Dahman. They worked out of rented space on the street. They later bought the property at 2705 LaSalle Street and built the building that they occupied for fifty years. At that time, the majority of flowers sold were seasonal flowers on consignment from local growers. Southern and western areas of St. Louis County were the sites of some of the country's largest growers of carnations and other cut flowers.

The Dahmans took pride in offering the best selection of fresh local products to the retail floral industry. In the early 70s--with the advent of improved transportation and distribution networks, the loss of local growers, and the rising interest in silk, dried, and craft materials--the floral industry changed dramatically. LaSalle Wholesale Floral Company remained in the hands of the Dahman Family until 1990, when the current ownership formed LaSalle WHOLESALE FLORIST INC. at the northwest corner of LaSalle and Ohio Streets.

Although the ownership changed, the company continued selling exclusively to professional retail florists and primarily focusing on providing the highest quality of fresh flowers and greenery. LaSalle WHOLESALE FLORIST INC. rapidly outgrew the original building at 2705 LaSalle. In 1994, the company acquired the business assets of A.G. Beiser Floral Company, including a three-story building at 2730 LaSalle Street, as well as the warehouse building at the back of 2731 Hickory Street.

In October of 1996, LaSalle purchased the 40,000 square foot building at 2744 LaSalle Street that had long been occupied by Windler Wholesale Florist, Inc. After an initial phase of renovations, the company opened for the first day of operations in the new building on January 27, 1997.

Today, LaSalle WHOLESALE FLORIST INC. is the only vendor on LaSalle Street serving the needs of professional retail florists exclusively. Unlike other vendors in the area, we do not sell to the craft, interior design, church, and nonprofit organizations that now crowd our market.

We are proud of the traditions of LaSalle Street, a street filled with flowers and fragrances, a street that was once filled only with florists. In a changing market, LaSalle WHOLESALE FLORIST INC. is proud to be building our future without abandoning the traditions of the past. Our goal is to have the best customer service in the industry and the highest quality flowers on the market by welcoming local growers and others throughout the United States. We strive to provide retailers with the freshest products possible.