About Henry Williams Florist Cape Town

  • Henry Williams Florists was founded in 1901 by Mr JE Wonfor who came to South Africa from Ireland the 1800's to seek his fortune in the diamond fields of Kimberley. This never happened and he later took a position at Garlicks departmental store in Kimberley. Taken from an insert in the Noordkaap Vloksblad, "Garlick’s Cycle Supply was established in 1898 by Mr J.E. Wonfor at 12 Jones Street. He stocked bicycles such as Royal Enfield, Rovers and Crescents. He boasted more than 3 000 bicycles repaired in 12 months and one of the most complete stocks of accessories". This all came to an end in the Great Fire of Kimberley, when Garlicks burnt down.
  • He then moved to Cape Town and opened a general dealer's store in the Stuttafords building in St.Georges Street Cape Town selling similar items as to what he sold at the Garlick's Cycle store in Kimberley. The store was named The Henry Williams Company after the first names of his eldest two sons. During these early years the company did not sell flowers at all but was known as a general dealer selling bicycles, implements and seed supply.This leftover seed was planted at the company's first nursery in London Road Sea Point. The flowers produced at this nursery were the beginnings of what is today known as Henry Williams Florist.
  • As the years went by the florist business grew steadily and the sale of the original general dealer items fell by the wayside. The business was handed over to the second generation after WWII and run by Norman Wonfor and Des Wonfor. The business also moved in the fifties to Parker's building situated at 23 Strand Street Cape Town. This location was bounded by Electricity House on the one side and Zukermans on the other. This remained the company home until 1978 when the entire block was demolished to make way for what is today the Cape Sun Hotel. In the same year Norman Wonfor passed away. Des Wonfor had also passed away some years earlier. The company then moved to 76 Harrington Street and established its head office where it remained for thirty odd years run by Bubbles Wonfor and her eldest son MIke Wonfor.
  • During this time the company saw rapid growth and numerous branches were established in all the well-known shopping centres around the Cape Peninsula. With the arrival of the internet in 2000, shopping trends for flowers started changing towards online shopping, making the shops unviable. All the branches were slowly closed and due to the decline in the East city area of where the company HQ was situated and the economic recession, the company moved back into the central CBD in 2009, to 74 Shortmarket Street Cape Town. Here the company remained for five years. Bubbles Wonfor passed away in 2007 and Mike Wonfor took over the running of the business along with his younger brother Tony Wonfor. At the end of the lease of Shortmarket Street in 2015, Mike Wonfor retired from the florist and it is now run by Tony Wonfor.
  • The company no longer has a high-street shop, as all business comes via the internet, email and telephone. Since 2015 Henry Williams Florist now operates from a studio in Plumstead Cape Town. This has greatly convenienced everyone working at Henry Williams, in not having to face the daily travel congestion and delays into and out of the city. Production starts earlier which allows for earlier delivery times of flowers and gifts. The company prides itself on a long history of excellent service to the floristry and floricultural industries of South Africa and is looking forward to providing you with the best service possible.