KNOBLE FLORISTS, a leader in the floral community, was founded in 1906 by Herman P. Knoble near its present location at 1836 W. 25th St. Knoble was among the founders and charter members of the Floral Telegraph Delivery System (FTD), begun in 1912, and in 1924 he founded the clearinghouse division of that organization, which centralized billing of FTD purchases. FTD and its clearinghouse represented a major marketing strategy for florists and remained in place until the late 1970s, when FTD became computerized.
Knoble's son, William, entered the business in 1932 after studying floral culture at Cornell, and continued his father's role as an innovator in the profession. In the 1950s he offered a monthly plant maintenance service to offices and industrial buildings and started a training school for floral design. Recognizing that delivery was an industry-wide problem, since 90% of all floral customers wanted same-day delivery, Wm. Knoble started the Special Service Delivery (SSD) in 1953, offering that service. Some 60 local florists were using the service by 1956 but SSD also became such a popular means of delivering small packages, documents, medicines, and film, that within 6 mos. of its founding the service was making 2,200 deliveries a week. By 1969 SSD business outstripped that of the flower shop, making 10,000-12,000 deliveries per week within a 75-mi. radius. In 1995 it operated as SSD Distribution Systems at 3115 Berea Rd.