So on to the seasonal greenhouse biz in the off-season…first of all, no, we don’t sit around with our feet up waiting for spring to come. I had zero idea that for a greenhouse to be ready to go in spring (or really the end of winter, when planting starts), you have to get all your ducks in a row in July.
All of this adds up to hours and hours of research, looking at numbers (again, and again, and again), agonizing over decisions about what I can fit in the growing space and what it’s time to move away from. Running a small business is no joke, and I am thankful that I have the time in the summer to give these details my full attention. Then come August, it’s time to Order! All the plants we will grow in the spring are ordered by the time it’s time for kids to go back to school, and all the hard goods (the pots, the hoses, the gloves, etc.) are ordered by the time the leaves start to change colors. In a fun coincidence, this is also when all the holiday orders are due; I’m ordering geraniums in the morning, and picking out the right Christmas wreaths in the afternoon! Although it’s a bit stressful making all of these decisions, as the owner (and a control freak) I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s my business, so it had better be my booty on the line when it comes down to it!
What's Growing On!
Yes, it's pretty corny.
Wow, first blog post. What to say?
Let's start from the beginning. I'll spare you the boring details, but Alycia needed a career change and while shopping for plants one spring, I casually mentioned she should ask if the greenhouse was still for sale. Within weeks she was beginning arrangements for the purchase. My head is still spinning. I had some retail management experience, Alycia had some greenhouse experience, we both have biology backgrounds, surely this would work out! Sorry, no cute story about one of us dreaming our entire lives of owning a greenhouse business. This was simply the right opportunity at the right time and we jumped on it! It's working out!
We've learned a lot over the past two years. Mostly we've learned that even the people that have been in the greenhouse business their entire lives don't always get everything just right, so it makes us not feel so bad about the mistakes we make now and then.
We've learned that a lot of the initial ideas and fun things we wanted to change and do with the business have to go to the back burner for a while. There is a ton of maintenance and rebuilding to be done, and our pockets are only so deep.
None the less, we're trying new things! Can you believe last Christmas season was the first time anyone tried to sell Christmas trees here? We're excited to be open for Christmas again this year and we hope you'll consider us for all of your wreaths, garland and beautiful, fragrant, cut trees!
If you're reading this, you may have noticed our new website, because you're on it! Berry Digital Solutions, LLC has been great to work with. They're just one of the great local business that we've worked with over the past two years to help us keep the place going.
This first blog has probably gone on long enough. Check in here from time to time to get info about what's going on at the greenhouse, what's new, maybe some tips and techniques. Who knows what you'll learn? We certainly have been learning, and it's fun to share with people.
Hillside Greenhouse is located at 302 Zanesfield Rd. in West Liberty, OH, directly across from Marie's Candies. Alycia and Matt Brehm purchased Hillside Greenhouse in 2016, and are proud to carry on a long tradition. There has been a greenhouse business at this location for over 100 years ! In 2015 Alycia made a career change from teaching high school biology to make her life growing and selling plants. They live near West Liberty where Matt and his father also have a fish farm that raises yellow perch. They have two growing boys, and are excited to be a part of the growing small business community in West Liberty!