Who We Are
Kennicott is a leading importer and distributor of fresh flowers, plants, and floral design materials. Our expertise lies in sourcing and delivering a wide range of top-quality floral products to local florists, event planners, and major retailers nationwide. While our roots run deep in the Chicago area, we now cater to our customers through 15 wholesale floral distribution centers across the Midwest, Southeast, and East Coast.
As a wholly employee-owned company for more than two decades, we are a sizable organization dedicated to preserving the close-knit, family-like culture that paved the way for our success over 140 years ago. This is how hundreds of farmers, suppliers, and partners perceive us every day: as an industry leader, setting high standards in floral excellence, exceptional customer service, and unwavering commitment to ethical business practices.
Established in 1881, Kennicott, with even earlier origins, holds the distinction of being recognized by The Illinois State Historical Society as one of the state's oldest continuously operating businesses. Here are some highlights from our rich and storied history:
In 1836, Dr. John A. Kennicott, a pioneer physician and horticulturist, founded The Grove Nursery on the Milwaukee Stage Road in Northfield Township. His nursery gained acclaim for its exquisite rose bushes and floral products. Dr. Kennicott played a pivotal role in the establishment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His residence, The Grove, is now a National Historic Landmark and nature preserve maintained by the Glenview Park District. In 1881, Dr. Kennicott's sons, Flint, and Amasa, founded Kennicott Brothers Company in downtown Chicago, rapidly expanding to serve florists in the Chicagoland area and shipping across the Midwest and South via railroad.
With the advent of air transportation in the mid-1900s, flower production shifted to California and later South America. We adapted by focusing on serving local retail florists and sourcing flowers from regions across the USA and the world, thanks to strong partnerships with growers. In 1963, we opened our first branch store in Waukegan, Illinois, to better serve florists in the area after the North Shore Railroad ceased operations. Over the years, we expanded to locations in Aurora and Elk Grove (Illinois), Hammond (Indiana), and Milwaukee (Wisconsin). During the 1970s, we became Illinois' largest rose grower and established a significant bouquet department for local supermarkets.
In 1992, we adopted an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), becoming 100% employee-owned in May 2000. This introduced a new dimension to our culture, instilling a sense of ownership among all employees. Today, our customers always interact with one of the company's owners. In recent decades, strategic acquisitions have allowed us to expand our presence in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey. While we take immense pride in our 140-year heritage, our unwavering commitment remains firmly rooted in the success of our customers today and the exciting prospects of the future.
Where We're Headed
The floral industry is poised for growth and transformation, fueled by emerging technology that enhances our ability to serve our customers. We are fully committed to promoting environmental sustainability and fair labor practices while actively contributing to our local communities. Our dedication to sourcing the finest floral products and meeting our customers' needs remains unswerving. The future of the flower industry shines brightly on the horizon, and we invite you to join us to be a part of it.