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Strelitzia Flower Company -- “Home Grown and Still Growing!”

Janice Labadie relates the 36 year history, with trials and tribulations, of Strelitzia Flower Company.

Submitted by:  Janice Labadie; November 7, 2007
This entry relates to past and present
Category(ies) of this entry:  Businesses

     While attending UCD in 1970 seeking his Masters in Environmental Horticulture, Dean Labadie had a wife and a baby on the way and no job.  To generate income, he started a landscape maintenance business.
     In 1971, as a precursor to the Davis Food Co-op, Dean, along with Ann Evans and others who saw a need, gathered to buy fresh produce at  bulk rates for like minded folks in the community.  Many remember Dean driving around Davis selling fresh vegetables out of a van.
     During that same year, a friend suggested he get to the San Francisco Flower Market and take advantage of the public’s frenzy to buy houseplants and cut flowers.  In the Sunday edition of the Davis Enterprise he read that Quessenberry’s was having a sale on buckets.  Dean withdrew $50 from the bank, bought buckets, and set up a flower stand on 3rd street.  He sold out of product immediately!  Flower shops simply were not offering fresh cut flowers for sale by the stem back then.  This was the beginning of what turned into two decades of driving to the S.F. Market at  2 am, three days a week.
     In 1972, a problem arose when the City of Davis came to shut him down.  Dean knew he had permission to sell at that location from the land owner and held out until the City understood that he wasn’t trying to re-create a “Telegraph Ave. ala Berkeley style” business.  Soon, the city made allowances, and hand delivered his business license to him in the spring when he opened his cart on `F’ Street.
     Dean decided to name his business Strelitzia Flower Company because he missed that question on a test at school.  When asked what the name of his business will be he thought of that botanical name for the `Bird of Paradise’ flower and the name stuck!
     Thirty-five years and nine separate locations later, including several in Woodland, Dean and Janice Labadie say “It isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle”.  It has served them well in this `very special’ location ~ Yolo County. 
Created for ~ Davis Community Scrapbook, November 2007

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