Billingsley Wholesale Floral, Inc. has been a part of Portland's growing flower community for over 40 years. The business is conveniently located in the Portland Flower Market on Swan Island. Family owned and operated, the company prides itself on providing professional and individual service in a friendly atmosphere.
In 1959, Bill Billingsley decided to take his Evergreen cutting business on the road to serve local retail florists. Ten years earlier, he had begun his career in the floral industry in the shipping department of Chase Gardens. His love for the flower business and his deep commitment to his customers spurred his idea to develop the much needed service of greens delivery in the Portland metro area. Bill bought an "old junker" of a truck and, with his wife Edna, began Billingsley Evergreens. The "greens route" developed with Edna manning the phones and doing the bookkeeping and Bill delivering the product. They did it all themselves, seven days a week for as many hours per day as it took to complete the work.
As the business continued to grow, Bill and Edna moved to a stall in the Flower Market in 1961. They hired their first employee and became a two truck fleet, providing area florists with delivery of plants, cut flowers, and supplies from all of the wholesalers at the Market.
In 1975, son-in-law Joe Elchhorn joined the company, and in 1980, Bill and Edna's son Michael came on board. Also in 1980, the business moved onto the loading dock area in the Portland Market, next to what was then known as Town Delivery. The business first occupied a small office at the south end of the dock, then added a storage cooler and a booth sized office. They began shipping basic cut flowers from California and Florida greens to meet the growing demand of their customers. The company continued to serve florists by shopping for potted plants, supplies and special varieties of cut flowers from the Market. Their motto was "We bring the Market to you," and they did just that!
In 1988, Bill and Edna retired from the business. Joe and Mike, along with their wives, Barbara and Darcy, took over the operation and carried on in the tradition of hard work and dedication to serving the customer. They continued running their truck routes down the Willamette Valley to Corvallis, up the Gorge to The Dalles, and routes to Longview, St. Helens and points in-between.
In September of 1989, the new, expanded Portland Flower Market opened on Swan Island. This was a great opportunity for all wholesalers and growers to better accommodate the increasing needs of Portland retail florists. Listening to the requests of their customers, Billingsley again expanded their product line to include basic floral supplies. In the fall of 1997, Billingsley added a new, larger cooler and acquired additional floor space with the closing of Oliver and Thompson. This additional space enabled the company to expand its fine vases, foams, ribbons and other floral supplies as well as a great selection of potted plants and an ever increasing selection of the finest fresh cut flowers and greens.