“When the market is filled with people and flowers, there is a contagious feeling that we’ve achieved something really special,” explains Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers.
Eighty percent of the cut flowers sold in the US are imported. The cooperatively owned Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is trying to change that. Located inside the Seattle’s historic warehouse district, the market sells flowers from family farms in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. The farmer-owned cooperative differentiates its products from their foreign competitors by focusing on specialty varieties that do not travel well, such as dahlias, sweet peas, and lilacs and sustainably producing them without pesticides.
The market opened in 2011 with the goal of creating new markets for local flower growers. It draws wholesale buyers from event organizers, retail florists and grocery store floral departments and is open to the general public on Friday mornings. By working together and expanding the market for local flowers, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is keeping local farmers on their land and creating jobs. “When the market is filled with people and flowers, there is a contagious feeling that we’ve achieved something really special,” explains Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers.
Over the past few years, the co-op’s sales have steadily increased, but slower winter months can still strain cash flow. The cooperative approached Shared Capital for a loan to even out cash flow and support continued growth. In January, Shared Capital made a $75,000 loan that allows Seattle Wholesale Growers Market to keep providing their beautiful blooms to the Pacific Northwest year-round.