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Our History


In the late 1930's, Frank and Mary Fitzpatrick started growing gladiolus. In these early days flowers were sold directly off Frank's truck to florists in the area. Later Fitzpatrick glads would be distributed by Bonnett's.

Bob Bonnett married Frank and Mary Fitzpatrick's daughter, Elaine in 1946.  Elaine started the Milan Flower Shop in 1946. The first location was on West 1st Ave in Milan, near what used to be Bringer Inn Restaurant. The shop was later moved to the front/basement of Bob and Elaine's home on West 2nd Ave. Elaine operated her retail florist until 1960 when her full time attention was needed at the wholesale.

Bob started the wholesale business in 1954. His first delivery truck was one that his father-in-law had used in the gladiolus business. In those days, Bonnett's sold flowers directly off of a fleet of large route trucks. The cooling in those trucks was provided by blocks of ice in a tin box with a fan at the back. Cooling trucks with Thermoking type units came later.

 Bonnett Wholesale Florist was originally located across from the Skyline restaurant in Moline, in the back half of a building that was once a control tower for the airport and O'Leary Airport Restaurant. In 1960 the business moved to 2304 12th St. in Rock Island, at a site once occupied by L. Stapp Co., a large rose grower. Bonnett's remained there until 1970. At that time, most of the sales were done by phone, with same day delivery. In February of 1970 Bonnett's  began operations at the present site, 119 E 8th St. in Milan, on property once owned by Elaine's parents. The original building was 100 x 48, since then the wholesale has been under construction 13 times.

Today, Bonnett's has extensive cooler space, a large greenhouse, several showrooms and sprawling warehouse space. Most of the  sales are still done by phone, with next day delivery. After 69 years in business, the Bonnett family remains committed to great value and great service.