April 15, 2005 — With Walter Knoll Florist family members and associates at his side, Mayor Francis G. Slay cuts the ribbon on their new Design, Call and Logistics Center, which will allow Walter Knoll Florist to operate one of the ten largest traditional retail florist businesses in the country. (Photo by Cathy Smentkowski) (SAF Newletter Breif) ST LOUIS FLORIST’S DOWNTOWN MOVE GETS NOTICED Local TV and radio stations included Walter Knoll Florist, www.wkf.com, in their news reports last week after the St. Louis florist held a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of its new design, call and delivery center in downtown St. Louis. The three-year renovation project of the former St. Louis Wholesale Plant involved knocking down two dilapidated buildings, building two new ones and renovating three others, says Walter Knoll III, vice president and chief information officer of Walter Knoll Florist. Knoll says his family business picked the downtown location because four wholesalers and three retailers neighbor it, and it’s more cost-effective than building in the county. “There’s almost a synergy that’s created from all (the floral businesses) here; it’s like a supermarket of flowers,” he says. When Knoll started the “$3-million” project, with help from the St. Louis government, St. Louis Redevelopment Board and the Mayor’s office, he didn’t realize the center’s downtown location would draw in customers, especially local commercial ones. “At our old design center (which Knoll currently subleases) we didn’t have a cash register, but now we have staff dedicated to take care of walk ins,” he says. While the family business just celebrated completion of the project, it has been in the location for two and a half years. A 20-truck enclosed loading area that was part of the project provides a better environment for product, Knoll says. Designers still design and employees take phone orders at Walter Knoll’s other nine locations, says Knoll, but pre-made arrangements are made at the center and it becomes “100 percent centralized for delivery, design and calling” during holidays.