How a Business was Born
Like all businesses, our business has a story. To tell this story, we have to start in year 1974 when Lava Lamps, Platform Shoes, Abba and Charlie's Angels were all the rave. Our story begins in Central, Alabama with two main characters, Ricky and Kathy Smith.
Ricky had been working at a local grocery store when his wife, Kathy, began working part-time, assisting with day to day operations, for a couple at Wholesale Floral Mart. The wholesale company sold silk flowers and supplies to retail florists. The owner had a van and a sales route. He called upon florists inside and outside of the Shoals area.
Over the course of a year's time, the couple owning the wholesale floral business decided they were ready to sell the business. The grocery store chain for which Ricky worked closed, and he found himself in need of a job. He took on the owner's route and loved meeting the customers and making the sale.
Ricky and Kathy decided to purchase Wholesale Floral Mart in 1975, and it was renamed Smith Wholesale Floral, Inc.
Ricky and Kathy owned and operated their wholesale business from multiple locations in the Shoals until moving to the current location on Montgomery Ave in Sheffield, Alabama. Ricky grew his routes to include places like Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and the Carolinas.
Fast forward to 1983 when David Christopher Smith was born to his parents, Ricky and Kathy, and to his big sister, Amy. He grew up going to floral shows, markets, and on truck routes with his parents. As a teenager, he worked in the warehouse unloading trucks, stacking boxes, assisting customers, and he tried his hand at driving his Dad's sales route.
He also began to experiment with floral design. His artistic abilities became evident with the passing of time. He could create amazing floral pieces offering unique designs. He entered and won numerous nation wide floral competitions.
As the wholesale floral industry began to experience a shift during the recession, David decided it was time to offer their products to the Atlanta Market in order to reach a broader customer base. The company started off in the temporary spaces.
While in Atlanta, importers began to take note of his design abilities giving him opportunities to design and develop products. He has made numerous trips to China manufacturers creating the David Christopher's Collection as we know it. Smith Wholesale Floral became David Christopher's Collection.
And in 2007, David had an idea, "Let's open a retail store." David wanted to be able to offer artificial floral designs and high quality home decor. The store was opened in Florence, Alabama.
David began to take on more and more responsibilities at the wholesale store, and he began to shift the focus from wholesaler to importer. He was designing a vast majority of the products and importing them. He was needed at the retail store and the wholesale store, and it became a challenge to be available at both stores.
The wholesale store, located in Sheffield, had room to accommodate a retail store, so the decision to move the retail store to Sheffield was the best decision for the future of the store. With both stores being under the same roof, David could focus on managing both locations at one time.
David Christopher's, the retail store, has been located in Sheffield, Alabama since 2012. It has been a wonderful location and a destination store. Customers drive in from the surrounding areas, and many make the trip from Tennessee and Mississippi.
After much prayer, Jennifer, David's wife, left her job at the University of North Alabama in 2016 in order to assist David with human resources, marketing and day to day operations of the store. Not all families are able to work together, but it has worked for us.
David Christopher's Collection, the import company, now has a permanent showroom at AmericasMart in Atlanta, Georgia. Retailers from all over the world attend market and place orders. While shopping in the retail store, look for green and white tags that say "DC's Collection." A majority of the items carrying this tag were designed by David.
As David Christopher's celebrates THIRTEEN years in business, we reflect on how it all started years ago. It's been a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs. However, we are thankful for the opportunity to represent Christ in the marketplace to one another, to our employees and to our customers. We are thankful for opened and closed doors. We are thankful for the people who have supported us and cheered us on from day one. We strive to provide excellent customer service, quality products and affordable prices.