It’s hard not to smile when you pass by the bright and colorful flowers painted on the side of 2112 Leeland Street. The building is home to Greenleaf, the wholesale floral shop that grows, sells and distributes flowers all over the United States. To give readers a glimpse of what the company does, we spoke to Beth O’Reilly, Director of Education and Merchandise, who gave us great insight into this flourishing business in the heart of EaDo.
What would you like people to know about Greenleaf?
Greenleaf is a flower grower and distributor that was established in 1955 as a way to move crops grown at our farm, Kitayama Brothers Farm, in Watsonville, California across the United States. Not only do we buy, sell and grow the products that we carry, we are committed to the end result of enhancing people’s lives through the beauty and language of flowers. We have far reaching partners all over the world that work with us in order to distribute not only the freshest and most sought after blooms across the globe, and we specifically work very hard to find and feed new trends in the market of fresh flowers.
How did Greenleaf come to be in Houston/EaDo?
By accident really. At one time we were located in downtown Houston but outgrew our building. We opted for the EaDo area before it was popular. At the time, EaDo was really just a warehouse district. As time has gone by and the EaDo neighborhood has flourished, we have flourished with it.
Who does Greenleaf typically serve (retailers, restaurants, wedding venues, funeral homes, etc) and how far out (Greater Houston area?)
We typically cater to floral and gift retailers, boutiques, wedding and event florists, funeral florists and mass market grocers that carry fresh flowers. We service all of Houston, making deliveries twice a day to floral retailers around the city. We also ship flowers across the United States. Houston is the home of our corporate headquarters and is also where our flagship store is located, but we have eight other locations: San Antonio, Dallas, Texarkana, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Reno, Albuquerque and Portland.
We would be happy to give anyone that comes by a tour of our facility and deeper look into our floral operations.
Could you tell us some interesting facts about Greenleaf’s products/business?
One of our favorite blooms that we grow at our farm are stemmed gardenias. Not only do gardenias smell heavenly, we can boldly say that we are the largest cut gardenia grower in the United States. While we do grow many of the products we sell, we don’t grow all of them. We work with many farms all over the world, and when it comes to imported flowers, we love whatever is different and new. Gigantic sunflowers from Mexico, unique and couture blooms from Holland, Italian ranunculus and Japanese sweet peas to name a few, and tons and tons of roses, garden roses, hydrangea and other blooms from South America.
Plans or goals for the future?
We believe in creating a culture that improves people’s lives through flowers, and we are committed to bringing flowers to our customers and followers across a multi-channel platform. We offer classes and seminars to our customers and are always looking for ways to add value to the transaction through education. We are currently producing video tutorials and product showcases on our Youtube channel as well as Instagram stories and feeds. Follow us on Instagram for the latest.
The backstory behind the wonderful graffiti on the building.
Greenleaf corporate took notice of the revitalization and mural projects in the neighborhood, and wanted to add to the fun graffiti art vibe that Aerosol Warfare and Gonzo 247 were coordinating through the city council. After commissioning the artist Scott Tarbox, the Greenleaf graffiti art was born and other artists jumped in to do the side of the building on Leeland Street. We love being a part of the city’s artwork project and are even planning on continuing to change the murals on the side of the building to keep it fun and new.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
We are a progressive company, willing to experiment, and in a unique position to be flexible for the future. We understand that the future of wholesale and ultimately the future of bringing flowers to the end consumer is rapidly changing.
Our initiatives position us as a cutting edge floral distributor on the forefront of that change. We understand and are excited about bringing flowers as a lifestyle to the masses.