Staying Power

How longtime local retailers continue to succeed through the decades.

Floral Family
"Three generations are active
in the family business."
West Suburban Living

Phillip's Flowers & Gifts is gearing up to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. The award-winning floral business, founded in Cicero in 1923 by James and Helen Phillip, is still owned and operated by the family, who have helped it blossom from a single location to six flower shops, a design center and a commercial interior plantscaping operation.

James and Helen raised three children, J.R., Russ, and Lee, in the apartment above their shop, and all worked in the business during their early years. While Lee went on to host a Chicago talk show and co-create two daytime TV dramas with her husband, Bill Bell, J.R. and Russ continued on with the family flower business. Russ is still actively involved today, along with five other full-time family members spanning two more generations, and several part-time spouses as well.

Baxter W. Phillip, executive vice president of the company, attributes its continued success to hard work, personal service and a team of talented co-workers, including creative designers who put a fresh spin on florals to suit the needs of each customer. “Like our founders, we all find great joy in the beauty of flowers and the customer relationships we've built through the years,” says Phillip.

Customers have come to rely on Phillip's Flowers for custom floral designs, wedding and event decorations, sympathy expressions, commercial interior landscaping services, and delivery. “These are specialized, local services that an experienced florist can do better than any national retailer,” says Phillip. “That's our niche, and we think there will always be a need for it.”

Improvements in technology and communications have allowed the business to innovate in many ways. For example, they now buy fresh flowers from around the world and have multiple websites open for business at all times, allowing customers to order florals for delivery throughout Chicagoland and beyond, thanks to links to more than 20,000 professional affiliate florists worldwide. The business currently handles more deliveries in a single day than their founders probably did in an entire year.

Looking ahead, Phillip hopes to continue to build upon his family's traditions. “We don't know what the future will hold, but our goals are to grow our core businesses and continue investing in tools and processes to help our people do their jobs better. We also want to provide an exceptional environment to attract and retain great team members, while responsibly and sustainably supporting the many communities we serve.”

Source: By Lisa Sloan, West Suburban Living Magazine, Nov. 1, 2022.

Phillip's Flowers & Gifts Online Florist
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