The greenhouse was established by Van B. Bailey and Frank W. Goe between 1911-1914. According to articles in West Liberty’s own Banner newspaper, Mr. Goe ran a greenhouse called the Mad River Greenhouse in 1911, and in 1914 Mr. Bailey had finished construction of new state-of-the-art steam heated greenhouses on the current site. The two then partnered and named the new greenhouses The Hillside Greenhouse. Around 1918 Mr. Goe moved to Springfield, and Mr. Bailey continued to operate the business. During this time, the business included cut flowers, a florist shop, bedding plants, and vegetables for retail and wholesale, landscaping, and more. They were also selling specialty hanging baskets and premium geraniums by 1915, which are still some of our bestsellers today!
Mr. Bailey passed away in 1931, and the next owners of record are Harry and Ann (Burl) Wilson. Then ownership passed to Walter Grubbs. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the business between 1931 and 1962, although there are ads and marketing pieces that exist from those years that show the greenhouse was running much the same as when it opened.
Mr. Ronald and Merry Lu Pusey owned and operated the greenhouse from April 1962 to November 1997. Luckily, we were able to meet Ron and Merry Lu, and we heard many great stories about the greenhouse from Ron over the years. The Pusey’s were responsible for the current greenhouse structure found here today. They moved the steel and glass 1920’s Lord and Burnham structure from the Bellefontaine Waste Water Treatment site in the 1960’s. The greenhouses still have some of the original cypress wood and glass panes from the 1920s! The Pusey’s ran the florist shop, along with florist Mary Baker, until 1990. They raised their family in the house and greenhouse, and we are forever grateful to Ron for sharing so much of his history with us.
Mr. John and Sally Wren purchased Hillside in 1997. The Wren’s continued the greenhouse’s reputation for quality plants and beautiful custom work. At this point, the business was open for the spring season only, and over 70% of the business happened in the month of May!
Hillside Greenhouse has a long history of selling quality plants combined with great service. One of the oldest businesses in West Liberty, it was established around 1915. An advertisement from the same year shows the business was running much the same as it remains today, and we are still known for our geraniums and hanging baskets over 100 years later!
Matt and Alycia value the hard work of all the previous owners and feel the responsibility to continue building on what they started. They are committed to ensuring the Hillside Greenhouse remains a vital part of West Liberty’s vibrant small business community!
Plants have been a life-long passion for the current owner, Alycia Brehm. She was influenced from a young age by her mother’s love of plants and gardening. As a child, she had her own flower beds to plan and plant, and in high school, had a job at a greenhouse that she loved. After teaching high school biology for ten years, Alycia was excited to return to her roots when, in 2016, she and her husband Matt purchased Hillside Greenhouse.
The Brehm’s live in West Liberty on the family farm where there are now 3 more greenhouses. Matt also owns and operates Brehm’s Perch Farm, growing and selling fish. Many days involve working both businesses literally side by side. Life is busy with two agricultural businesses, but together, along with a lot of help from their two boys, they make it work. They are proud to be part of the small business community in West Liberty.