We are family
While most kids in the '70s spent their free time zipping around on bikes or glued to Young Talent Time, Flower Power’s CEO John Sammut and brothers Mark, Group Operations Director and Collin, headed off to work with their dad, Flower Power founder Nick Sammut.
Without fail after school and every weekend, the brothers rolled up their sleeves to help their dad - a Maltese immigrant - realise his bold vision of transforming a small, rundown nursery - bought with a loan of $400 in 1968 - into a groundbreaking garden centre.
Before the luxury of forklifts and bagging machines, most jobs at Flower Power had to be done by hand. Starting at age 10, the brothers were tasked with filling and carrying bags of soil, sand and cement to customers’ cars. As teenagers, they spent countless hours unloading 20 tonnes of sand and cement every week. Sure, it was hard yakka, but it was worth it. “We’re now reaping the benefits of what dad started.” says Mark.
Fifty years on, Flower Power is still a family affair. For the last three decades, John has held the reins as CEO, joined by Mark and Collin, and Flower Power’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Spiteri. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce and working as a chartered accountant, Michael joined Flower Power in 1989 to help John, Mark and Collin grow Flower Power into what it is today.
With an entrepreneurial spirit no doubt instilled by Nick Sammut, John, Mark, Collin and Michael have made many of their own marks on the business. For one, they’ve transformed Flower Power’s growing nursery - where four and a half million plants grow at any one time - into one of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest.
One thing they hope will never change is the loyalty of Flower Power customers. It’s a great source of pride for John to still see the same customers who visited Flower Power when he was a boy.
Running a successful family business is hard. What’s even more challenging is staying great. After 50 years Flower Power has managed to do just that, maintaining its place as Australia’s biggest retail garden centre chain.
All four men credit Flower Power’s success to a team of devoted staff. “We still have many of the same people working with us, some who started more than 40 years ago. They’ve dedicated their lives to Flower Power. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.” says John.
Flower Power’s success may also be in part thanks to one of the greatest lessons John, Mark, Collin and Michael learnt from Flower Power’s founding father - one which they still hold dear. “Dad taught us the importance of hard work and perseverance and he always led by example” says John. Thankfully they have both in spades. “We never give up. We keep trying until we find a solution.” adds Michael.
The last five decades of Flower Power have seen great strides, but there’s one constant that drives each and every change: the desire to make things better for the customer. It’s a legacy that continues to this day.
Pictured left to right: Collin Sammut, Mark Sammut, Michael Spiteri & John Sammut