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6461 Highway 392, Windsor, CO 80550
Type of Business: Retail garden center with a greenhouse and a beer brewery
Years in Business: 26
People and Business: The company began in 1991 as a temporary greenhouse that was set up on an empty lot on the outskirts of Windsor – the business was called ‘Plant-A-Scape.’ It was only open 3 months a year and the location changed several times over the next ten years. By 2001 they had acquired some land on the edge of town and decided to build a greenhouse, which is now the current location. The name changed as well, to The Windsor Gardener. It’s a family business dating back several generations that originally started with the carnation market in Denver.
So why a brewery? Pat Weakland, who owns the business with his wife Amanda, is an avid home beer brewer. Back in 2007 he was having a hard time finding hops, an essential ingredient for the brewing process. Sensing the need for locally available hops, he decided to start growing and selling hop plants, as well as brewing supplies in a new home brewing section of the garden center. Now they grow 54 varieties of hops but no longer carry the home brewing supplies. Since the hops sales did so well, Pat and Amanda took the next step and opened the High Hops Brewery at the garden center in 2012. And they quickly discovered that gardening and beer go hand in hand. The brewery has been a great success enabling them to extend their business through the winter months – nothing like a beer garden in a warm greenhouse in the middle of January to draw in the customers! Plus, the brewery helps keep key staff employed year round.
Benefits of Membership: “We really enjoy the educational programs that CNGA provides which keep us well informed and up to date with the latest growing and marketing techniques. We appreciate, too, the efforts CNGA takes to increase public awareness of plants and the value they add to our daily lives. CNGA is a good support mechanism for us.”
PO Box 4009, Edwards, CO 81632
Type of Business: Wholesale grower
Years in Business: 25
People and Business: The owners, Laurence and Jean Guilmineau, were born and raised in France. They come from agricultural backgrounds and love the outdoors and skiing and have been in the Vail/Eagle Valley area since 1988.
Laurence and Jean run two businesses, the tree farm and a landscaping business in Vail since 1992. In the early 2000’s, they were having difficulty finding trees for their own landscaping projects and could only find them out of state. Basically that’s how they ended up starting McCoy Tree Farm in 2002, to supply their own jobs. Soon they began selling their trees to landscapers and garden centers, mainly in the local area as well as Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Steamboat, Summit County, and Winter Park.
The 40 acre tree farm is located north of McCoy, halfway between Vail and Steamboat on Highway 131 and supports more than 10,000 trees on just half the land. At 7,300 feet, they specialize in aspen and spruce trees that are well adapted to the local climate.
How They Started with CNGA: “We attended ProGreen as buyers many times over the past 20 years. For the last two years, we exhibited as wholesalers so it is interesting to be on the other side. We always enjoy the event and took the kids many times when they were little.”
1550 E. 73rd Avenue, Denver, CO 80229
Type of Business: Wholesale grower of bedding plants, perennials, specialty annuals, geraniums, hanging baskets & ornamental grasses
Years in Business: 66
Web Site: http://www.centergreenhouse.com/
People and Business: The beginnings of this family owned and operated business go way back to 1889 when Pietro Yantorno purchased the property that Center Greenhouse now occupies. In 1950, the first greenhouses were built to grow carnations. With the decline of the carnation market, the transition to bedding plants started in 1973.Today the family business has evolved into a state of the art growing facility for pre-finished liners and finished product. The pre-finished plugs and liners are shipped nationally through the leading industry brokers while the finished annuals, perennials, herbs, ornamental grasses and designer hanging baskets are sold in the Colorado and southern Wyoming markets.
General Manager Brian Yantorno, the third generation to run the greenhouse, has seen a recent makeover in staff over the past few years. That’s due in part to an expansion into finished products and young plant sales, requiring more specialized staff, as well as replacing several long time employees who have retired. It takes a well coordinated effort of all the employees to manage the successful growth, especially since Center produces 98% of everything they grow from seed or cuttings.
Center Greenhouse is committed to the Colorado green industry by belonging to and serving the state's top horticulture organizations including the Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association, Garden Centers of Colorado, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, Plant Select and the Colorado Proud program.
Benefits of Membership: "The most beneficial CNGA programs to us have been the affinity programs like the credit card processing through Heartland Payment Systems. It’s one of the programs that have helped us save quite a bit of money."
East of South Fork, Colorado, on Highway 160
Type of Business: Retail and wholesale garden center and greenhouse
Years in Business: 16
People and Business: Peg and Phil Varoz, along with their two children, started La Garita Mountain Nursery with a few shrubs behind their house in the San Luis Valley. Having just built a new home, they soon realized how difficult it was to find trees, shrubs and other plant material that was adapted to the region's harsh, high mountain desert environment. With the help of Dick Brady and Larry Watson as well as many other plant professionals throughout the industry, Peg and Phil continued to expand the nursery to include a good variety of plants that could survive extreme cold, little moisture and terrible winds
Living and working in a small town location, they work hard to provide the best possible customer service and often have repeat customers come in on a weekly basis to see what's new and blooming. Their service goes well beyond the cash register. They assist their customers with garden design, locating hard to find plants and diagnosing plant health issues. As a result of dedicated attention to helping their customers, the business has grown steadily, simply from word of mouth advertising. From just a few plant varieties in the beginning, La Garita Mountain Nursery now offers a wide range of adapted trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and hanging baskets along with garden supplies, gifts and gardening antiques.
Benefits of Membership: "CNGA and the ProGreen EXPO have helped us learn about plant production, displays and new plant varieties. The LooseLeaf magazine helps us discover new nurseries and growers. This helps our continual quest for exciting new things to try at our nursery."
7711 S. Parker Road, Centennial, CO 80016
Type of Business: Retail garden center with greenhouses and a nursery
Years in Business: 34
People and Business: The Tagawas were a farming family in Colorado before they started their greenhouse businesses. General Manager Jim Tagawa came here 40 years ago after working as a physical education teacher. Beth Zwinak, Manager, is a geologist and worked in the oil business before joining the company 30 years back. Associate Manager Chuck Hoover has a background in service and landscaping businesses and came aboard nearly 30 years ago.
Tagawa Gardens offers a well rounded gardening experience for their customers and the community. In addition to selling a diverse variety of plants, they also offer gifts, home decor accessories, local foods, gardening classes and family events. As a great community steward of the environment, they offer an extensive amount of education through classes, hands-on seminars, webinars, online how-to videos and events. Their unique community outreach goes offsite to private and public groups to teach about gardening and provide fundraising opportunities for nonprofit groups, especially those involving children, animals and veterans.
To help their customers Tagawas uses lots of handouts in the store and on their website. They use extensive signage to educate shoppers and try to avoid "garden" jargon as much as possible. By using numerous store displays, customers can see firsthand how to do a project.
Benefits of Membership: "Many of our staff attend the annual ProGreen EXPO and we always enjoy the Owners & Managers meetings. We have also attended insect and disease seminars to keep up with information to pass along to our staff and guests. We always take away good ideas from each CNGA event we attend."