Does MPHS have photographs: Yes
Address: Originally 303 E. Evergreen, moved to 320 E. Northwest Highway in 1987
Is building standing: Second building standing but greenhouses were demolished in 1986
What is at site: Busse Flowers; townhomes at greenhouse site.
When was business founded: 1916. Still operating.
Who owned business: Louise and Fred Busse to Harold and Carol Busse to Paul and Linda (Busse) Seils
Interesting stories, facts, history:
In 1916, Louis Busse, following the suggestion of his son Fred Busse opened a wholesale flower business at 303 E. Evergreen. At that time, Mount Prospect was unincorporated, the population of the village totaled slightly less than three hundred, and Northwest Highway existed only in the minds of city planners. In these conditions Busse’s greenhouse was on the outskirts of town and was surrounded by open space and fields. The father and son team used Louis Busse’s knowledge of farming and Fred Busse’s experience working in a greenhouse in Des Plaines to build up a successful wholesale business, shipping flowers daily by train to merchants in Chicago.
In the 1930s and 40s, as the population of Mount Prospect expanded so did Busse Flowers. No longer on the outskirts of town, Busse Flowers began catering to the growing demand for retail sales in the community. By the end of World War II the population of Mount Prospect was booming and the time was ripe to expand the flower store. When Harold Busse, one of Fred Busse’s three sons, returned from his Army service in 1947, Busse Flowers built an addition for retail sale of flowers, pottery and other gift items.
Harold Busse and his wife Carol began working exclusively in the retail business. They were able to expand this part of the business while the greenhouse continued to supply them with flowers by the dozen. In 1951 the store was remodeled and the sales area was significantly increased. The store was now offering greeting cards, artificial flowers, decorative vases and an assortment of other collectibles. At this time, Mount Prospect was in a period of major expansion with a population more than doubling in the preceding ten years.
In 1964 Harold and Carol took over the ownership of the business and completely remodeled the store. With this remodeling came a major expansion of the retail store to meet the demand of the continually expanding population of Mount Prospect.
As with previous generations, Harold and Carol had both of their children involved in the business. Their older child, Linda, is running the business today with her husband Paul Seils. Paul had been working at the flower shop part time while attending Northern Illinois University and dating Linda. In 1970, after graduating with a degree in Business Administration, Paul Seils began working full time at the store and has been there ever since.
Since Paul and Linda have been at Busse Flowers there have been a few changes. The biggest of these is that Busse Flowers is now in a different building at a new address. In 1987, as a part of the village’s downtown redevelopment plan Busse Flowers sold its original location and moved one block from the corner of Evergreen and Elm to the Corner of Northwest Highway and Elm Streets. The new store was exclusively retail with the greenhouses being left behind. In this way, Busse Flowers has mirrored the development of Mount Prospect, going from farming to exporting specialty goods to mixed retail and finally to just retail.
The legacy of Busse Flowers is not only in the development and longevity of the business but also in what the business has given back to the community. In 1961 Busse Flowers began hosting a Holiday Open house, which became a yearly tradition and was one of the most popular holiday events. The flower shop brought design and creativity to the residents of Mount Prospect by offering flower design classes from the 1970s to today. The florists also worked with other groups in the community, such as the Historical Society who they have been cosponsoring a flower show with for the past ten years. And of course the owners and employees of Busse Flowers have been heavily involved with the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce for decades. Paul Seils was elected President of the Chamber in 1984 and has been involved since.
The traditions of Busse Flowers have continued with a new generation. Paul and Linda’s children Jeremy and Heather have joined the staff of the store, and Jeremy’s wife, Sarah, has been brought into the flower business as well. Utilizing the energy and dedication of this fifth generation, Mount Prospect’s longest running business is sure to continue for years to come.
Busse Flowers is the longest running business in Mount Prospect. It is all retail today, although it started out in 1916 as a greenhouse company. Mount Prospect was a largely rural village until the 1950s and many of the residents worked on farms or in agricultural fields. One of the biggest products of Mount Prospect was flowers. Other than Busse Flowers, there was also Kellen Brothers Greenhouses, Homeyer Greenhouses, and Haberkamp Greenhouses. Over the years the property became more valuable as residential property and all the greenhouses were closed. In 1986 Busse Flowers sold its greenhouses to the Village as a part of a TIF District development and became a strictly retail establishment.