In 1945, Jules “Toots” Armellini and his wife, Sarah, began transporting flowers from Vineland, N.J. into Philadelphia and New York City. Ambitious in their plans, but with an eye toward cost, they started their business with only one truck and utilized a barn as their terminal.
Today, 73 years and three generations later, Armellini Logistics, located in Palm City, Fla., is the largest transporter of fresh-cut flowers in the U.S. With seven family members currently working in the company, President and CEO David Armellini participated in a Q&A with Super Floral, offering insight into his company and the future of the floral industry.
“Multigenerational company maintains family history while keeping pace with the transportation needs of the floral industry.”
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?
“Surround yourself with talent,” told to me by my brother, William.
What motto, creed or affirmation do you live by in your personal and/or professional life?
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
How did you get into the floral industry?
As a child growing up with the business in the backyard, I looked forward to the day when I would be old enough to help load the trucks and drive them around the facility.
What do you find most interesting or inspirational about the floral industry or working in it?
I love the fact that we deliver smiles. Flowers make people happy and everyone needs happiness.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to put the right people in a position where they can flourish and try to encourage them through positive feedback.
Who or what has influenced your leadership style the most?
My father was a people person, and I have tried to follow in those large footsteps.
What is the most rewarding situation you’ve encountered in the floral industry?
Both becoming the WF&FSA president and winning the Paul Ecke Jr. Award. [Established in 1984, the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Paul Ecke Jr. Award is given to a person in recognition of exemplary devotion to profession, industry and community.]
What are the primary goals you hope to accomplish in the next six months?
One is to have a successful Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day rush. Second is to raise the number of drivers employed with Armellini by 20 percent.
When you aren’t in your office, where are you most likely to be?
On my boat fishing with family and friends.
Do you find it important to be involved in leadership positions in the floral industry, and if so, why?
Yes. It is important to give back to an industry that has been so wonderful to my family. I spent many years on the WF&FSA board, including as president. I am now on my second round of committee membership with SAF.
What else would you like to share with our industry about your business?
Armellini Logistics is vertically integrated from South American farms to distribution centers around the U.S. In addition, we now transport several other temperature-controlled flower-friendly freight (such as dairy and deli products, beverages, herbs and leafy greens) on a routine LTL basis.
What do you believe is the most important issue or challenge facing the floral industry currently, and how can it be resolved?
The lack of truck drivers is the largest issue facing trucking companies across the county. The solution has to come from two places: More money to the drivers and more respect from the shippers, receivers and employers.
What is the most significant change you think we are likely to see in the floral industry in the next two to five years, and what will precipitate that change?
The number of floral wholesalers will continue to shrink. I believe the pace will lessen because many of the less-efficient wholesalers have already closed. Also, my hope is that our industry will come together for a national promotion of flowers, so all of us can enjoy more Americans buying more flowers, more frequently.
Armellini Logistics comprises eight vertically integrated companies specializing in the transportation of flowers and other perishable products. The company offers a wide range of logistic services, refrigerated consolidation and reliable air-freight on leading airlines while its core asset-based trucking company offers consolidation and refrigerated LTL and TL. In addition, they also offer sea container and refrigerated trailer rentals and sales to fit any storage needs. For more information, visit armellini.com.