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W. Lee Flowers celebrates 100th anniversary

on Monday, 19 September 2022. Posted in Local News

Named after its founder, W. Lee Flowers began in 1922 in Lake City with only three employees working from a small warehouse.

     The company, based out of Scranton, operates 63 IGA and KJ’s Market grocery stores in South Carolina and Georgia.

        W. Lee Flowers, one of the largest wholesale distributors in the Southeast, is marking the occasion of its 100th anniversary in part by introducing a new logo and fresh look for the brand. Named after its founder, the company began in 1922 in Lake City with only three employees working from a small warehouse.

     “We remain forever grateful to the vision and dedication of Mr. Flowers and the small number of dedicated people who worked at our company in the early years,” said Chris Van Parys of W. Lee Flowers. “During our 100th anniversary this year, we continue the visionary culture of our company with the introduction of our new logo that is bold, colorful, and reflective of our unfolding possibilities.”

      During its early years, W. Lee Flowers mostly sold farm tools, hardware, and dry groceries to local retailers near Lake City. By the 1950s, W. Lee Flowers introduced its popular Floco label, including items like tea, salt, and bath tissue. Also, during the 1950s, W. Lee Flowers was appointed as wholesaler for IGA food stores and began to focus all company efforts on wholesale distribution. By 1971, the company had outgrown its Lake City location with no room for expansion and moved to five miles north of Scranton. Its then-new 96,000 sq. ft. warehouse was deemed “big enough to last us forever” at the time of its opening.

      In the decades that followed founder W. Lee Flowers’ death in 1976, the company made the decision to diversify into retail store ownership of a number of IGA grocery stores and, later, KJ’s Markets.

    Today, W. Lee Flowers, which was acquired by Alex Lee in 2019, operates 63 IGA and KJ’s Market grocery stores in South Carolina and Georgia as it continues its core mission as one of the largest distributors in the Southeast. The 96,000 sq. ft. warehouse that was built to last forever has been expanded several times and today stands at over 400,000 sq. ft.

   Signage using W. Lee Flowers’ new logo already is in place at its Scranton warehouse and will be rapidly introduced to all areas of the company in coming months.

        “We thank everyone past and present who made W. Lee Flowers the successful company it is today,” Van Parys added. “W. Lee Flowers is a forward-thinking company that always has an eye toward the future. Be on the lookout for more great things from W. Lee Flowers as we enter our second century with a new look for our brand.”

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