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SAYING IT WITH FLOWERS FOR 125 YEARS

Dec 13, 2001

By Suzanne Marino To the passerby, Fischer Flowers in Linwood is a nice little flower shop on Shore Road with a greenhouse behind. There is another shop in Atlantic City, the original. The Fischer name has been a part of the local community for as long as anyone can remember. Just how long? The rich history spans five generations in Atlantic County. The business is celebrating 125 years. Charles W. Fischer, Jr., the president of Fischer Flowers, Inc., says it was his great grandmother, Franciska Fischer, who founded the business back in 1876. “Legend has it she and her husband were Black Foresters from Germany before moving here,” chuckled Charles Fischer. “I am not sure of it, but it certainly makes a pretty good story.” It seems the business began with whatever horticultural skills Franciska Fischer possessed. She and her husband came into Camden when they arrived in this country, later taking the train south to the Atlantic City area. She catered to the summer and cottage trade and began by growing some annuals in cold frames. By the 1980s business was doing well and there was an opportunity to expand. The family decided to build some greenhouses, purchasing a large tract of land on North Kentucky Avenue across from the Old Harlem Club in Atlantic City. The greenhouse was in a lot behind the old Hollywood Theater, just down the street from the Joseph J. Waggenheim Co., the premier meat purveyor of the day, according to Fischer. Fairly quickly it grew into a good greenhouse. By the late 1920s Fischer’s tore down the Atlantic City greenhouses and moved that operation to a parcel of land, roughly 20 acres, purchased by Charles W. Fischer, Sr. along Oak Avenue in Linwood. Early on, there were about six 30-by-100 foot buildings. Charles Fischer, Jr. figures there was about 15,000 to 20,000 square fee of growing area under glass at the Oak Avenue location. Meanwhile, his father, Charles Fischer, Sr., was coaxed back into the family business after graduating from college with a degree in chemistry. “He always said he came back with the stipulation that he be able to open a flower shop,” said the younger Charles Fischer of his father. “He had a feeling the retail flower business would have more longevity than the greenhouses.” The site at Oak Avenue in Linwood got a bit larger through the 1950s as the Fischer’s purchased more land surrounding Bargaintown Lake. They had a mail order business as well. The Fischer’s became well known for their field hardy azaleas and African violets. At their high point, Fischer’s employed more than 70 people in both full and part-time positions. That was in the early 1970s. By the early 1980s, Fischer said, it became clear that with environmental factors being what they were and changing times, farming in Linwood, in the manner to which they were accustomed, was no longer productive. So the Fischer’s moved their operation again, this time just a few blocks away along Bargaintown Lake on the Egg Harbor Township side. The area, now Patcong Farms, became the focal point of the business. Charles Fischer sold off the land in Linwood to John Millar. That land became the Fischer Woods and later Fischer Greens developments. Although much of the Fischer operation had moved across the creek to Egg Harbor Township, Fischer’s purchased a flower shop along Shore Road in Linwood from Ted and Herman Meskers. Along with the shop are adjacent greenhouses, the only greenhouses Fischer operates at this time. The shop opened under the Fischer name in 1983 to go along with the original shop in Atlantic City. Through the course of its long history in Atlantic County, Fischer Flowers has done its part to support the community. “Fischer Flowers have served Miss America since its inception in 1920 through 2001,” Charles Fischer, Jr. said. Fischer’s has also been a vendor and has done design and display at both the Philadelphia and New York flower shows for more than four decades. Fischer Flowers has served the community well in Atlantic City and Linwood. The shop has nurtured five generations of Fischer’s and shows no sign of slowing down. Charles E. Fischer, son of Charles W. and great, great grandson of Franciska Fischer, is the vice president of the company and according to his dad, has taken over most of the operation of the company.

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Fischer Flowers https://www.fischerflowers.com/images/wide/logo1.gif 2322 Shore Rd. Linwood, NJ 08221 800-388-6796 609-927-3823

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Linwood Florist: 2322 Shore Road Linwood, NJ 08221 800-388-6796 609-927-3823

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