On July 13th, 1945 Jacob Toxopeus, G. C. van der Merwe, Willie Stock (who conceived the name Multiflora) and Jochem Toxopeus decided upon the initial structure of the company which is today the centre of the South African flower industry.

Multiflora's History

The idea of a centralised flower market seemed utterly far-fetched in the early 1940s, but four out-of-the-box thinkers didn't agree. On July 13, 1944, Jacob Toxopeus, GC van der Merwe, Willie Stock (who cleverly came up with the name Multiflora), and Jochem Toxopeus got together to decide on the basic structure of the company which, today, is the core of the South African flower industry.

Before this concept materialised, flower sellers hired tables at the Johannesburg Municipal Market, selling direct to florists, members of the public and street vendors.

Each of the four shareholders invested R7.500 in the venture and Jacob Toxopeus became the CEO of the fledging business that opened in Jeppe Street with one manager, two auctioneers, a caretaker, a fruit salesperson, a typist and six flower handlers. Persuading flower growers to use the new auction house was the first task and transport of fresh blooms could be a problem. In the early days, this involved bicycles, horse-and-cart and trains. And who, today, is surprised, flowers transported by train often arrived late!

Despite the initial problems, Multiflora flourished. Cardboard boxes were introduced in the 1950s and the company's reach extended out to Tzaneen, Pietersburg and the Lowveld, dealing in the then top-of-the-pops fashionable flowers carnations, snap dragons and poppies.

By September 1975, Multiflora needed larger premises and moved to its present location at City Deep and the auction process was computerised the following year in 1976.

Today, Multiflora, with its 600 flower growers and about 400 buyers, has a turnover of R300 million a year an incredible achievement for a business that started as nothing more than a bright idea in 1944!

West Pack Express

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