Who We Are
Kennicott Brothers Company is an importer and distributor of fresh flowers, plants, and floral design supplies. Our specialty is sourcing and delivering a complete line of the finest floral products to neighborhood florists, event designers, and mass retailers across the country. While our roots go deep in the Chicago area, we now serve our customers from our wholesale flower markets at 17 local facilities throughout the midwest, south east and east coast.
As a wholly employee-owned company for over 20 years now, we are a large organization that strives to maintain the small, family-run culture that laid the foundation for our success over 140 years ago. And, that’s how we’re known by the hundreds of farmers, vendors, and suppliers with whom we work with every day: a leader in the floral industry, setting the bar with an unerring focus on quality, exceptional service to our customers and a dedication to ethical business.
Where We’ve Been
The Kennicott Brothers Company — established in 1881, but with even earlier origins — has been recognized by The Illinois State Historical Society as one of the oldest continuous businesses in the state. Here are just a few of the exciting highlights from our rich and storied history:
- In 1836, the area's first physician and horticulturist, Dr. John A. Kennicott, founded The Grove Nursery on the Milwaukee Stage Road in Northfield Township, where he quickly established a fine reputation for beautiful rose bushes and floral products.
- Among other achievements, Dr. Kennicott was instrumental in the establishment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His home, The Grove, is now a National Historic Landmark and nature preserve owned and maintained by the Glenview Park District.
- In 1881, Dr. Kennicott's sons, Flint and Amasa, founded Kennicott Brothers Company in downtown Chicago. It rapidly grew to serve florists in Chicagoland and began shipping throughout the Midwest and South via railroad.
- With the advent of air transportation in the mid-1900s, most flower production moved to California and later South America. We then adjusted our focus to serve local retail florists and turned to sourcing from growing regions around the USA, and eventually, the world. To this day, a secret to our success continues to be our strong partnerships with growers locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, allowing us always to obtain the very best blooms any time of year.
- In 1963, we opened our first branch store in Waukegan, Illinois, to better serve florists in that area after the North Shore Railroad went out of business. In succeeding years, we added locations in Aurora and Elk Grove (Illinois), Hammond (Indiana), and Milwaukee (Wisconsin).
- During the 1970s, we became Illinois’ largest rose grower and opened a significant bouquet department to service local supermarkets.
- In 1992, our company embraced an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), and in May 2000, we became 100% employee owned. The ESOP added a new facet to our culture, namely the pride of ownership. Today, no matter where we cross paths with our customers, they always speak to one of the company’s owners.
- Over recent decades, we’ve had the opportunity to grow through strategic acquisitions, establishing our reputation in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, and, most recently, New Jersey. (Check out our full list of locations.)
While we are very proud of our heritage of over 140 years, we are committed to the success of our customers today and to the many exciting opportunities of the future.
Where We’re Going
The industry promises to grow and flourish, as emerging technology enables us to further serve our customers. We’re fully committed to supporting environmental sustainability and fair labor practices while supporting our local communities.
We’re determined to keep growing our traditions of sourcing the very best floral products and fully servicing the needs of our customers.
The future is incredibly bright as we look ahead. We would love for you to be a part of it.