CJ Love History


‘CJ Love’ is born when Clifford James Love starts a company operating from a van primarily selling plants, with some flowers. Cliff visits Covent Garden Market very early every morning to stock up the van then travels round the local area selling to garden centres and flower shops. At this time the farthest Cliff travels to is in Waterbury, Kent
FYI: Cliff’s very first customer was Bijou who is still a valued customer 35 years on.


Daryl Mercer joins CJ Loved as Saturday boy and Cliff’s first member of staff!


‘CJ Love starts dealing direct with a company (called HIP) based in in Holland for the first time. Initially, CJ Love bought twice a week from Holland whilst still supplementing with flowers from the market on a daily basis.
FYI: 30 years down the line, HIP are still one of CJ Love’s suppliers.


When the Love family move to a bigger house in Sidcup, Cliff moves operations to this new base, effectively now running the business from the back garden.


CJ Love purchases a second van and Daryl starts a new round, this time specialising in flowers and venturing farther afield into London, Kent and Essex.

Gavin Lindsey joins the sales team and takes over Cliff’s round. Cliff is now based at the house.


Paul Crowson joins CJ Love as Sale Manager and starts another flower van round which really cements CJ Love’s presence in Kent. At this stage, the vans still go to market daily to stock up on English as well as buying from HIP.


This is an exciting time for CJ Love as, just before Mother’s Day ’94, having outgrown Cliff’s garden, the company moves to their current site in North Cray Road. The ‘unit’ is effectively a large, glass greenhouse about 50ft x 20ft in size, standing in the middle of a field. This greenhouse is now the basis for our main warehouse section, although it’s not glass now!


CJ Love’s expansion continues as fourth van joins the fleet and a sundries round is introduced. This proves very popular and more space is required......

The warehouse is extended all around the ‘greenhouse’ to accommodate a chilled flower room of around 30ft x15ft, a covered section for plants and storage area for sundries which adds a total of around 7,000ft² to the site.


Up until this point, Cliff has been buying carnations, spray cars and other imported flowers via the market but the volume required now means that import flowers can be sourced directly. Unsurprisingly, sales go up as prices and quality improve.


Cliff’s son Dan joins the growing empire as a Saturday boy, learning the trade from the grass roots up. Dan is currently head buyer at CJ Love.


As things get busier, Gary Playford join the sales team and Nigel Baker is brought into the accounts department.


The new millennium dawns and CJ Love join forces with two more Dutch companies and are now receiving deliveries from Holland 6 days per week.

A second plant van round is introduced.


Sam Dooley, who is now our Sundries Manager, joins the sales team and is based at the warehouse.


CJ Love moves into the 21st century and introduces computerisation replacing the good, old-fashioned pen & paper system of invoicing. All goods are bar-coded and scanned to automatically produce a computer generated invoice – not handwritten as before.


CJ Love set up their first web site, a very simple affair but a web presence nonetheless.

As part of the ongoing improvements on the technological side, a fledgling web shop is launched which allows customers to order online for the first time. At first the web shop is almost just a glorified pricelist but within a short time there are direct links with Holland and the shop becomes more interactive.

FYI: CJ Love’s first internet customer was Lingfield Florist who was an existing van customer at the time and still buys today.


CJ Love wins the prestigious ‘Wholesaler of the Year’ award at the Spring Florist Event. The team were especially proud of this award as it was voted for by florists – the people who matter – and was a testament to all the hard work the team were putting into the business.


As internet sales and warehouse sales soar, the flower vans and one of the plants vans are phased out over a period of about a year. This enables CJ Love to offer overnight direct deliveries which seem to suit shops better. To this day we still offer seasonal plant and seasonal sundries van sales throughout the year to keep that personal touch!


To cope with the new style of direct-deliveries which meant a different way of working, Jon Banks joins CJ Love as part of the overnight team.


Tony ‘the driver’ is employed to.......deliver.


The youngest of the Love children, Matthew, joins CJ Love as part of the sales team. In 2014, Matt moved into the overnight section.

In a major move, CJ Love set up a remote buying link to the auctions at the Sidcup base, with Dan purchasing flowers via computer (but directly linked) ‘off the clock’ at all the major auctions in Holland. This strategy ensures greater control over the stock and more competitive prices for CJ Love and their customers.

After 6 years, the web site is re-vamped to reflect a more professional, sleek image and to enable customers to log into the web shop from the web site.


Major expansion and huge investment in the warehouse takes place....

Working with a specialist Dutch refrigeration company, an 85ft x 40ft (3,400ft²), purpose-built, climate controlled flower room with automated doors is installed where the plant storage area was. The unit itself is imported from Belgium and not only is it temperature controlled, but the humidity levels are also automatically kept at the correct points according to the outside air temperature.

To make room for plants and to create a weatherproof packing area, a further 4,575ft² is added to the building making the total size of the CJ Love site a massive 15,500ft².

The sales office is integrated into the warehouse and replaces our first flower room – without the chiller, of course!


Because of the changing market and the focus on direct sales the final plant van is taken off the road. This isn’t the end of mobile plant sales though as the plant van regularly does the rounds with seasonal goods throughout the following years.

As business increases, Brad Stevens, Doug Danks and Terry Hillcock join CJ Love as delivery drivers.


To keep apace with the warehouse improvements, attention now turns to the online part of the business and CJ Love invests heavily in the development of the web shop with AlfaPro, a dedicated, specialist, service provider in the field of floral sales software. Compared to the previous web shop, the 2012 version is far, far superior. Customers can buy flowers, plants and sundries directly from Holland and can access a much wider selection available of flowers, plants and sundries from around the world.


Three new additions to the CJ Love fold are Mark Luff & Big John who join as part of our overnight team and Ryan Platt who’s employed to help in the warehouse and learn the sales side of things.


Jack ????? joins us as the newest recruit in the delivery section. This brings the number of drivers to 5 and covers routes all across the South East in London, Kent, Essex and Sussex.


Continual improvements to the web shop have rendered it almost unrecognisable to the one created just 3 years ago. Every customer has complete control over their own account from their portal and can browse, order and pay at this point.

CJ Love now employs around 18 people, runs 5 delivery vans, offers people the option to buy from a 15,000ft²-plus warehouse or from a cutting edge web shop with direct links all around the world. Not bad for a business that started 36 years ago with one man with his van, eh?

In the space of 10 years, CJ Love has 2 vans on the road and 3 members of staff and is buying regularly form Holland

So, another 5 years on, CJ Love has 3 flowers vans, 1 plant van and a sundries van on the road plus the warehouse in North Cray Road.

The Team

Flower Guide


Account Set up