Flowers & Sons Ltd. was started in 1946 by Clarence Levi Flowers,
M.B.E. This year the company celebrates its 60th anniversary. CL
Flowers Ltd. is one of the oldest Caymanian owned and operated businesses.
the years CL Flowers & Sons Ltd., which later formed “The
Flowers Group”, has diversified into a myriad of businesses
primarily run by Mr. Clarence’s three sons, Frank, Richard
and Clarence Bradley. The Flowers Group now umbrellas everything
from concrete block manufacture, to polystyrene products, bulk and
bottled water, aviation security and baggage handling and various
real estate developments such as Cricket Square. However, CL “Clarence”
Flowers started from very humble beginnings. He came to the Cayman
Islands at the age of 13, in 1931 as a migrant Jamaican worker.
Starting as a yard boy for the Merren family, even from then Mr.
Flowers dreamed of success. His philosophy was simple, and at 88
this year, it is still the same: to be successful you have to foresee
a need and supply it before anyone else, and you have to be the
Full of ambition
and youth, Mr. Flowers was ready to take on the world. But, during
a time when his young life was just starting to flourish, the world
around him was deteriorating as Germany and Britain went head to
head in World War II. Whether it was youthful compulsion, or patriotic
duty, Mr. Flowers joined the Trinidad Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
to serve for His Majesty’s defense.
as a boy, Mr. Clarence returned from the war as a man. Thus began
his transport business. At that time, the planes coming to Grand
Cayman were seaplanes that landed in the North Sound. Mr. Clarence
acquired a small boat, and used it to transport bags and people
to land. He also made sure that transport was available on land.
In 1946 he had one of the first truck transports on the island.
He would take goods and cargo out to the far reaches of the island,
and return with people who wanted to get into George Town to shop
Since he already
owned a truck, it seemed like a natural progression that when people
wanted Mr. Clarence to transport water to fill their cisterns, he
loaded a water tank on the back of his truck, and the Flowers Water
Transport Company was born.
With his small
companies blossoming, by that time, Mr. Flowers needs had changed;
now almost 30 years old, he wanted to marry his sweetheart, Jen
Hinds of South Sound. As a young Jamaican immigrant who came from
poverty, he realized the importance of having a good home for his
wife. The common buildings of the day were mainly made of flimsy
wood or archaic wattle and daub; structures that would often succumb
to any sort of heavy storm winds or be compromised by the smallest
fire. Mr. Clarence decided that, for his beautiful fiancée,
he would have to build a better house; the people of Cayman needed
housing that was evolved, hurricane resistant and dependable. Thus
began the Flowers Block Empire.
Flowers started with a simple manual machine that spit out one block
at a time and could make a maximum of 90 blocks per day. He would
manufacture the blocks, in the mornings and evenings after working
in his transport business. Mr. Clarence would pump out the concrete
blocks until he was so exhausted he could barely stand up. “I
can’t remember sleeping during those days, between the transport
and making the blocks for my house, I would be up some nights until
2 or 3 am and back on the road at 5.” But his hard work paid
off, and by the winter of 1952 Mr. Clarence not only had a solid
house, but a loyal partner is his new wife. Maybe it was his pretty
wife or what was called the “strongest house on the rock”
but Mr. Clarence’s crazy blockhouse idea began to catch on,
and pretty soon every one wanted a concrete blockhouse.
the demand for the blocks far superceded the capacity of his little
one block per rep machine and Mr. Flowers was forced to expand his
operation and his family, which welcomed three hearty boys that
would soon find there own niches in the business. In the early 60’s,
with his wife by his side, Mr. Clarence borrowed against his current
business and upgraded to a two-block general engine machine, which
could produce 2,000 blocks per day, by the end of the decade he
upgraded to a Model 8 Columbia, which was semi automatic. By now
his sons were starting to grow up and also put in long hours in
the factory to help the business grow and expand. Cayman was becoming
a rapidly developing country and during this time, Mr. Flowers began
to see needs in other areas besides just construction.
By the 70’s
his sons were grown up and Mr. Flowers and his family were ready
to take on more. When the Governor’s Harbour development began,
Mr. Clarence was a founding member of the Cayman Water Company which
was formed to provide water and remove sewage. Since Cayman was
prime to become a tourist destination, Mr. Flowers was instrumental
in pushing the Cayman Water Company to extend piping down the road
to seven mile beach, thus providing fresh water to the beach, giving
the tourism industry a much needed boost. During this time, Mr.
Flowers had still maintained his connections with the airport from
his boat transport days in the north sound, and seeing the need
for a proper baggage handling company and aviation security team,
he capitalized on the opportunity. Meanwhile, realizing the potential
for major property developments in George Town, he started buying
real estate with a mind to develop in the future. By the 80’s
Mr. Flowers was beginning to take a back seat as his sons took over
much of the everyday running of the companies.
runs the bottled water operation which had its beginning some forty
years ago with Mr. Flowers using his truck to transport bulk water
to the outer districts. Frank remained with the blocks, and some
six machines later, in 1990 he upgraded to the Columbia 1600 the
most modern block machine to date, which can make up to 40,000 concrete
blocks a day, and is still the show piece block manufacturing plant
for the Caribbean. Like his father, Frank has also seen the need
for something that has not been provided in these islands, Insulated
Concrete Form, a form of polystyrene construct that is popular in
North America for its insulation qualities and strength and durability
in adverse weather conditions. Frank also oversees the Aviation
baggage handling and security aspects of the company. Clarence Bradley
has taken the property development aspects leaps and bounds, with
such huge commercial projects as Cricket Square.
sixty years after its inception, C.L. Flowers & Sons Ltd. has
expanded and become successful primarily through one man’s
singular vision that has been passed down to his family. Mr. Flowers
still has his pretty wife and wonderful family, including two grandchildren,
Frankie Jr. who has focused his drive and talents towards the film
industry, and Dara who is finding her niche within the Flowers Group
of companies. Talking to any member of the family, one realizes
how much Mr. Flowers’ drive and dedication has infiltrated
and inspired all of their lives. As Frank Sr. comments, “
My Father always taught me that the most important thing in business
is to have foresight, be honest and be the best, with that combination
and a bit of luck, you can do anything. I still live by that mantra,
and to this day, in sixty years, even after hurricane Ivan, the
Cayman Islands has never run out of our concrete blocks and we have
never compromised the integrity of our product, that’s a testament
to my father and the business ethic he has instilled in all of us.
Flowers is truly an inspiration not just to his family, but to the
people of Cayman that he has touched and continues to touch through
his tireless drive and exceptional vision.
company timeline –
– Clarence Flowers Sr. born in St. Catherine,
– Clarence Migrated to Cayman Islands, worked as a yard boy
for the Merren family.
– 1945 Clarence went to war for British Royal Navy
– Clarence started his first small business. He acquired
a Bedford Truck, which was used to transport passengers and cargo.
– Clarence gets his first Concrete Block machine, with the
idea that he is building a house for his future wife. His first
machine was a manual hand machine with a maximum capacity of 90
blocks per day.
– 1955 Clarence marries “Jen Hinds” of
south sound. Three sons are added to the family, Frank Flowers Sr.,
Richard and Clarence Bradley. During this time, Clarence upgrades
to a Ford and Chevrolet truck.
– Clarence straps a water tanker onto his flatbed truck and
delivers water to cisterns.
– Mr. Clarence uses a boat to transport passengers to and
from landed seaplanes in the North Sound.
– Mr. Clarence gets his second block machine. A “general
engine machine”, with the capability of producing 200 blocks
– Mr. Clarence gets a new block plant, another “general
engine machine”, with a new capability of producing 400 blocks
– Frank starts working in the plant before and after
– Mr. Clarence & Mrs. Jen start to buy real estate in
the George Town area.
– 1964 Another upgrade to the trucks to include a
new flatbed for block and aggregate transport. He also acquired
his first dump truck “contractor’s tilt”. Five
hundred gallon water tankers & gas pumps were added to these
trucks for water delivery. Truck fleet total: 2.
– With growing construction demands, Mr. Clarence gets yet
another block plant, with capability of outputting approx. 2000
blocks per day.
– The First Tanker Truck used exclusively for water
– Mr. Clarence upgraded to a model 8 machine that produced
8 blocks a minute, or approx. 4000 blocks a day.
– Frank starts to run block plant.
60’s – Richard and Clarence Jr. start to work
in the plant and trucks before and after school.
– Flowers upgrades to the first “Super 22” plant
ever used in the Caribbean. Production capability was 6000 blocks
per day. Staff was approximately 12 men.
– Mr. Clarence along with partners starts the Cayman Water
Company, which sent piped water to seven-mile beach.
– Mr. Clarence and Sons sponsor the “The Blocks”
soccer team. The first Cayman Islands team to play in an overseas
– Mr. Clarence and Richard start to deliver 5-gallon water
bottles, forming Flowers Bottled Water, which was eventually helmed
– Mr. Clarence finally branded his airport operation “FADS”
(Flowers Air Dispatch Services) which had grown to include baggage
handling and security. This was later taken over by Frank Sr, with
help from Richard and Clarence Jr.
– Flowers Truck fleet: 8. Staff 25.
– Frank Sr.’s wife, Eve, gives birth to Mr. Clarence’s
only grandson, Frankie Jr.
– Mr. Clarence’s only granddaughter, Dara is born.
Mid 80’s – Clarence Bradley develops
various real estate ventures, forming Orchid Development. Richard
and Clarence Bradley start Phase 1 of Cricket Square.
80 – Block operation expands to include U.S. International
Ford Trucks and Freightliners. Flowers eliminate hand delivery by
towing forklifts behind the trucks.
– Frank Sr. founds the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim.
– Frank Sr. becomes the managing director of Flowers Block
and oversees the erection of their newest machine purchase, “Columbia
1600 block factory”, the most modern plant in the Caribbean
to date. Daily capacity up to 50,000 blocks. The company also moves
to its present day location of Seymour drive, Clarence Bradley and
Richard oversee the construction of the office.
– Frank Sr. purchases an Insulated Concrete Form plant for
the manufacture of various types of polystyrene form. The first
machine of its kind in the Caribbean. He brands this new company
2000 – Flowers Truck Fleet over 20. Staff
Over 90. Various advances in truck safety, including inclusion of
“Piggy Back” delivery system utilizing fork lifts mounted
on the back of the trucks.
– Flowers Block Factory, offices and properties severely damaged
during Hurricane Ivan. Frank, Richard and Clarence Bradley along
with their staff and family, rebuild. Flowers never runs out of
– After graduation from university in Los Angeles, Dara starts
to work at Flowers Block and in other divisions of the company.
– Flowers celebrates the 60th anniversary of its companies.
Current machine can make approx. 60 blocks per minute. This means
that in 90 seconds, it makes more blocks than Mr. Clarence’s
first machine in 1946 made in an entire day.
- CL Flowers passes away, his family continues in the tradition
of the businesses.
2007 - Cricket Square phase 4 is completed.
2008 - Flowers Block introduces several newconcreteproducts to the construction industry in the Cayman Islands, including, 12" inch blocks and cobblestone pavers.
2009 - Flowers Group introduces Cayman Stud, Caymans first steel stud manufacturing facility.
2009 - Cricket square phase 5 begins.