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Florist Has Had Roots in Greenfield for a Century

Grandpa Frank's Flower Market sits on family homestead location.

At first glance, one would assume is a run-of-the-mill florist on a busy thoroughfare. 

The florist, which sells high quality flowers, however, is a major part of Greenfield's history.

"This is a homestead, a farm of my grandfather's in the 20s and 30s," said owner Norbert Knackert, whose grandfather owned a farm house on the east side of Highway 100.

He would walk across Highway 100 which at that time was a dirt road, to milk his cows, Knackert said.

Knackert's grandfather was a produce farmer, who sold his goods at a little stand near the current shop, which is at the south end of the Homestead Place shopping center.

"They used to occasionally sell flowers and vegetables and things," Knackert said.

Knackert grew up in a small house trailer where the shopping center stands today at 3833 S. 108th Street.

"We were dirt poor; we lived in an 8-foot trailer and we didn't have indoor plumbing until I was 12," Knackert said. "For 100 years we have been here." 

Years later, Knackert and his siblings began selling produce in the same location, much like his grandfather did.

"We had people requesting flowers from when my grandmother used to sell them," said Knackert, who credits a stint with JC Penney for his business acumen. "They wanted flowers, so I gave the customers what they want." 

As time went on, the produce and flower stand turned into a shopping center with the produce business eventually folding because of big-box competition. The flower shop open in 1976, and now, it flourishes, fielding orders from around the world to those in Greenfield.  

"I get ex-employees or family members and their children are in Iraq or on a ship in the Mediterranean and they will call us and order flowers for their mother on Mother's Day," Knackert said, who gives a 30 percent discount to active and nonactive military personnel. "They call us. It's amazing how we get those calls."

The business consists of a florist and the Anna's Hallmark card shop. The two store fronts are connected by an archway, creating a feel of one shop.    

"We named the shop after my grandmother and grandfather in remembrance of how they started it all," Knackert said.

"It's been very difficult and … absolutely fun," Knackert said. "Oh man have we had fun."

Knackert said the fun is derived from the satisfaction of being able to survive, and serving all of the people and families that have purchased flowers and cards during the best and even worst moments of their lives.

"We are in the smile business; even with the funerals the flowers bring smiles to people's faces," Knackert said. "We really enjoy the flower business and the card business."

In addition to selling flowers and cards, the stores have been a place where young people throughout the area have come for a part-time job. Some people come back to work at the stores during the holidays, when the business needs experienced employees.

"I put a lot of kids through school from this store here, holy moly," he said. "As a learning experience, they said this was a wonderful thing."

Knackert has come to the realization that the flower and card shops may not be around for the next generation. 

"Sadly and realistically … it's just going to go away," Knackert said. 

Antonija Mitt December 13, 2011 at 02:04 PM
I do remember Hwy 100 as a two lane highway. My dad was a fisherman, and we'd load up the boat and head southwest. There was always a stop at Bob's Bait in West Allis (and I get a flood of memories from that place as well, each time I drive by...) and often stopped at Grandpa Franks for fruit or treats on our way to Lake Tichigan or Brown's Lake, two of his favorte fishing spots. It always seemd so far out of town to me, since we lived on the north side near Washington Park! I'm happy Grnaps Frank's is still iaround!
Antonija Mitt December 13, 2011 at 02:08 PM
Sorry about the typos...
David Cotey December 13, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Great story Antonija! Thanks for sharing.

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