The Wholesale Florists and Florist Supplier Association (WFFSA) recently reported that Peter Ullrich, a floral industry icon and one of the first growers to establish a presence in Latin America, passed away on June 29 after a battle with cancer.
Ullrich was born in Bad Wildungen, Germany, in 1942, where his parents operated a small flower shop. He moved to the U.S. in 1962, and in the late 1960s, he began to make extra money wholesaling flowers, along with many other part-time jobs. Twice a week, he would drive to the airport and load up his small car with two or three boxes of flowers and sell them from store to store.
In 1972, Ullrich became one of the first growers to establish a presence in Latin America, opening Flores Esmeralda in Medellin, Colombia. Over the next four decades, he expanded his growing empire to include additional Esmeralda farms and breeding operations in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, and Africa. Marketing arms for these farms were opened in Miami and Holland.
Ullrich’s farms and companies have supported tens of thousands of families throughout these countries over the past 44 years. Outside of flowers, he was involved in other entrepreneurial endeavors including serving as the CEO of EAU Technologies, a ground-breaking company that is the world’s leading provider of empowered water (enhanced water that is electrolyzed and oxidized to create a powerful cleaning solution without harmful toxins or chemicals).
The honors Ullrich has received include the 2008 WFFSA LTK Distinguished Service Award and the 2006 Society of American Florists Gold Medal Achievement Award. In 2014, he also established an American Floral Endowment fund, and was a long-time supporter of the organization.
“His unparalleled passion and vision were an inspiration to all of those who had the opportunity to know him,” says Patricia Lilly, Executive Vice President of the WFFSA.