Interflora chairman has a bloomin' wonderful job

TOP MAN: Peter Bellingham of Ipswich Florist has been named chairman of Interflora Australia for the next two years.
TOP MAN: Peter Bellingham of Ipswich Florist has been named chairman of Interflora Australia for the next two years. David Nielsen

EVERYTHING'S coming up roses for Ipswich florist Peter Bellingham.

At the recent annual conference for Interflora Australia in Darwin, Mr Bellingham from Ipswich Florist was elected as the chairman of Interflora Australia for the next two years.

Mr Bellingham has managed the family business for the past 25 years. It was started in Ipswich by his parents Harold and Iris in 1968 and he now operates it with his wife Suzie.

He has been on the board of Interflora for the past 11 years as the district director for Queensland and also served the previous two years as deputy chairman.

"It seems so long ago when I first walked into one of my parents' florist shops in the Brisbane CBD two days after finishing high school in December 1981," he said.

"I worked there for around three years before we sold these stores and I then started working in our Ipswich shop. "In July 1998 we opened another store at Booval.""Mum and dad opened the shop in the mall in 1968 and in 2000 we moved into here (9 Brisbane St)."

He said he attended his first Interflora national conference in the Blue Mountains in 1979 - the celebration for the 25th anniversary of Interflora - and he had only missed two conferences since then.

"There's 960 stores Australia-wide. I won't be visiting all of them; there's just too many of them," he said.

"But we have seven or eight board meetings a year in Melbourne, there's regional meetings as well and education weekends and things like that."

He said he regarded being chairman of Interflora Australia to be a great privilege and he looked forward to the challenge it offered.

"Interflora Australia is 60 years old next year so I must be the 30th chairman," he said.

"The only other one we've had here in Ipswich is dad. That was 10 years ago when he was the president. Now they call it chairman of the company.

"As chairman I look after all the needs of members across Australia so it's going to be interesting.

"Especially now where you've got all the online marketing with people ordering over the internet."

He said Interflora was always ahead of the game with people being able to send flowers from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world.

"You've got to keep up with it, otherwise you fall behind," he said.

"Especially now, the quality has really got to be there because within five minutes of a person receiving flowers they've taken a photo and shared it."

Florists have diversified over the years with hampers and other gifts and Mr Bellingham said there was still plenty of life in the flower trade.

He said he was looking forward to the many challenges ahead and keeping Interflora as the number one flower relay company in Australia.

He said Interflora would continue to invest heavily in marketing the brand by increasing the company presence online as well as in members' stores across Australia.

"Interflora is a world renowned organisation providing quality products, not only flowers but hamper gifts as well," he said.

"There's still plenty of business for florists. Unfortunately you've still got your funerals but there's still weddings and birthdays and babies and anniversaries."

Topics:  florists

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