Home' Grower : March 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- March 2013
Tony Amorico, Tony's Wholesale
Flowers, is worried about the
local flower industry's
competition -- not from imports
but rival gift industries.
With no state or national
body to turn to, growers
are taking marketing
matters into their own
By MAX OPRAY
THE South Australian cut
flower industry is struggling
through a period of slow
growth, and with no state body to
represent its interests, growers and
wholesalers are being forced to
come up with their own solutions.
Among them is businessman Tony
Amorico, who works virtually seven
days a week as chief executive
officer of Tony's Wholesale Flowers,
the state's largest wholesale flower
The business started in 1989 and
has since expanded to include an 8-
hectare Adelaide Hills flower farm
and greenhouse that supplies
products such as tulips, hyacinths,
and bunch lines.
Mr Amorico's company sells more
than 19 million stems a year and a
range of at least 200 different
flower and potted plant species.
"My first job was hoeing weeds in
a rose nursery in 1980 and now I'm
CEO of my own company
employing 80 staff. Funny how life
turns out," he said.
Every week, about 200 retailers
visit Mr Amorico's wholesale market
to buy fresh flowers and potted
Tony's Wholesale Flowers may be
thriving, but the retailers are not
doing nearly so well.
An IBIS World study estimates
that from 2008 to the end of 2012,
revenue growth in the flower retail
industry across the country crawled
along at 0.3 per cent a year.
Mr Amorico is well aware of the
problem, and worried about the
local flower industry's competition
-- not from imports but rival gift
"Growth has slowed to a crawl,"
been slow due to
the global financial
crisis and there's
been a lack of
industry members to
awareness and demand.
"We've got competition from
bigger companies with bigger
advertising budgets selling
chocolate and personal consumer
In response, Mr Amorico is
pioneering the Flower My Day
campaign, inspired by a meeting
with Andrea Caldecott -- the woman
behind a decade-long UK flower
industry campaign that saw
consumer spend increase ten-fold.
With no state or national body to
turn to and no financial
commitment from the local
industry, Mr Amorico has personally
committed almost $300,000 to the
campaign which features posters on
trams, billboards and buses, radio
and newspaper advertisements, and
a website offering vouchers and
direct online contact with florists for
The campaign began in August
last year, and a second phase is
slated for March.
Mr Amorico's company has more
plans lined up.
It aims to extend the vase life of
flowers through an electrolysed
activated water production
technique to be used at the
Lenswood farm in the Adelaide hills
and its production and wholesale
facility at Mile End.
The method, called Ecas4, was
developed by the University of
Ferraro in Italy and produces
Anolyte PH neutral water that Mr
Amorico claims is non-toxic, fully
degradable, and environmentally
"We are the first in Australia with
this four-chamber technology,
which is utilised in poultry, pork ,
fr uit, vegetables and other industries
in Europe," he said.
Despite the progress being
made, Mr Amorico wants
to see the
Marketing campaign underway
Technique to extend shelf life
Plans on for local industry body
Popular picks for special days
THE cut flower industry in Australia
concentrates on growing for cutting
Growers mostly produce traditional
soft flowers, with roses, liliums and
gerberas the biggest sellers.
Chrysanthemums are in high
demand for Mother's Day while
seasonal bulbs and flowers are
popular in spring.
Most traditional flowers are grown
with some protection, usually poly
tunnels, and most are sold on the
Australian native wildflowers and
South African proteaceae, on the
other hand, are primarily cultivated in
They fall into two broad categories --
filler flowers such waxflower,
kangaroo paw and thryptomene, and
seasonal feature flowers such as
waratah, banksia and protea.
Some flowers and foliages are wild-
harvested under license. Wildflowers
account for 90 per cent of the
South Australia has about 30 to 40
growers and 250 florists, with bulb
lines predominant in the Adelaide
Hills, roses mostly in the north, and
native varieties in the south.
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