Dave grew up in the wholesale floral business. His father, Bob Mears, started Bob Mears Wholesale Florist in 1949 in Springfield, Missouri. Dave said his father discouraged him from going into the family business because “it’s very, very hard work”. Taking his Dad’s advice in 1966 Dave headed to the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in romance languages, with an emphasis on French and Italian. He earned BA and MA Degrees in French Literature. He spent seven years as an assistant professor.
Dave went from the lectern to the warehouse. In 1973 the health of both of Dave parents was failing, so Dave went into the family business to help for what he thought would be a temporary period. He started with the most basic warehouse chores; he also made local deliveries, sales calls, and did some buying. By 1976, he was named President.
Dave was the youngest ever President of WF&FSA. Dave had served as first vice president, second vice president and north central regional Director and was president of WF&FSA in 1992-93.
He is one of the five founders of the International Floral Distributors (IFD) and became their first President. IFD is a marketing company owned by floral wholesale distributors focused on gaining business advantages for each member.
While President of WF&FSA he put his support behind PromoFlor, a national promotion order for cut flowers. The promotion order would require mandatory payments into a national fund to promote flower consumption in the United States.
Dave traveled the country to explain the program and seek support. In late 1993, legislation was approved for the implementation of PromoFlor. Dave became the first Chairman of the National PromoFlor Council. PromoFlor created “Buzz the Bee” who reminded consumers to “Think Flowers”.
PromoFlor’s advertising and promotions produced an estimated 10% increase in the number of households buying fresh cut flowers in a typical month. Despite its success PromoFlor was terminated in a referendum in June of 1997.
In addition, Dave served as a trustee of the American Floral Endowment and President of the Missouri Florists Association and served as.
He was also a leader in his community and served on the local Board of Directors of Hospice. His company was named the 1999 Springfield Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year.
IFD established a distinguished service award in honor of Dave. The Award honors those individuals whose efforts have contributed significantly to the welfare and progress of IFD, its members and the floral industry.
Other industry awards include: Super Floral Innovator of the Year and the Society of American Florist Golden Bouquet Award, and the Floral Marketing Association’s Exceptional Service Awards.
In 1977 Dave and Judy were married in their home with a few friends and family. Dave had one son and Judy had two sons. Dave was a great roll model for the boys. Today there are eight grand children between Judy’s two sons and three grandchildren with Dave’s son.
As an adult he ran the Dallas Marathon twice. And, family vacations took on the look and feel of a sporting event. At least five family vacations were six-day canoe trips in the boundary waters between the U.S. and Canada just north of Ely, Minnesota. When not canoeing, the family took five-day hiking trips in remote areas of the Grand Titans. The family carried everything they needed on their backs. Armed with a map, Dave would lead the way.
WF&FSA is a dynamic business organization dedicated to providing members with the information, services and support they need to remain competitive in today’s constantly changing market. The Association offers a wide variety of programs and activities to support its mission of enhancing networking and business opportunities for all floral wholesale distributors and suppliers.