AA Importing, Inc.
AA Importing is a buying group of floral wholesalers that enables its members to import directly. We buy directly from factories in Asia and are able to meet minimum purchasing requirements by consolidating member orders.
Twice a year members meet at our 7,500 sq. ft. showroom to place Spring and Christmas orders for the following year. At the January show, we showcase Christmas, Fall, and Halloween. In June we offer merchandise for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, and home decor as well as everyday Spring and Summer items.
Our buying team travels overseas for 10 to 12 weeks per year. They develop and select new products as color and style trends change. New items are added, old items are dropped, and the most popular items are always kept in the line for re-orders.
AAI founder, Austin Amery, worked in New York City as an international banker after serving in the U.S. Army during WWII. In the mid 1950’s he left the banking industry and joined National Potteries (NAPCO) which was based in the Cleveland area. Later, when the International Artware Co. (Inarco) was formed, Amery continued his career with them.
Amery liked the import business but wanted to try a different business model. In 1966 he formed AA Importing, the first direct import buying group for floral wholesalers in the U.S. The additional margins afforded to the wholesalers, combined with exclusive trading areas, made the group a success.
Today, AAI members operate 45 wholesale outlets across the U.S. and Canada. Although the market is more competitive, AAI continues to create value for its membership through additional services and product lines. AAI is not a buying group “in name only” as are many other buying groups. AAI’s members are actively engaged in setting the direction and focus of AAI. Members place orders with AAI, who then consolidates and submits the orders to factories overseas. The wholesale members are in effect the direct importer. Delivery usually takes from 4 to 6 months. Many others have tried similar business models without the same longevity or success as AA Importing. AAI’s long term success is a testament to its member driven philosophy that has allowed AAI to change and adapt with the times.