Our company started in 1919 when James Masson bought a 15,000 sq. ft greenhouse in Kansas City, Kansas. His son Alex R. Masson later joined him to help grow one of the first wholesale plant producing greenhouses west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rockies. His sons, R. Alexander Masson and brother James Masson continued the growth through the turn of the century.
By focusing on quality, variety and customer service, our growth continued. By 1968, the company grew to three acres. In 1972, the headquarters moved to Linwood, Kansas with another three acre greenhouse. That's when we introduced the "Sunflower Sue" brand, one of the first U.S. growers to provide identification for consumers.
We grew with the plant boom of the 1970's, adding three more acres of greenhouse. We ventured into supermarket and mass market retailers with brand name products, began packaging plant care accessories, and started producing tropical foliage. During the 1980's, we added two branches in Las Cruces New Mexico and Radium Springs for year round plant production. Throughout the 1990's and beyond, Alex R. Masson, Inc. grew to ship to fifteen states. Mark and Andrea Illausky came on board in 2008 and purchased the company in 2012. They have continued to pursue the goals from the past, yet revolutionize the systems and operations of the business-under the name of Alex R. Masson Wholesale Grower, taking it well into the future. We have started a new brand called Free State Growers, part of our locally grown initiative.
We have become a leading producer and wholesale distributor of year round blooming potted plants, tropical foliage plants, and designer upgraded products. Annuals, perennials, and garden mums have become a part of our ever expanding product line. We have our own dedicated fleet of trucks to insure on time deliveries. Over the past few years we have decreased our geographic shipping areas, focusing on our own community. We ship closer to home to ensure our plants quality and freshness. We moved to a cart based shipping system, which has contributed to us using almost 60% less cardboard than we did 5 years ago. We are still growing after 96 years, so our roots are stable for a strong future.