A year-round approach

2019 State of the Industry Report - Market update

From mid-spring to late December, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village provides its customers with year-round options to fit their seasonal designs.

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September 18, 2019

Photo courtesy of Ebert's Greenhouse Village

Since 1990, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village has been a staple in Ixonia, Wisconsin. By offering year-round services and catering to seasonal decor, customers can enjoy a wide range of plants that coincide with their yearly plans.

“Since we’re open pretty much the majority of the year, we switch our area from spring plants, to summer plants, to fall ones and then poinsettias in the winter,” says Head Grower Jason Wenninger.

Wenninger’s history at Ebert’s dates to 1998 when he was hired as a landscaper and general employee. He became assistant grower in 2004, left the company in 2010 to work at a garden supply center in Ohio and returned in 2016 as head grower. Now, he is responsible for plant health and production from nursery stocks, annual team baskets and perennials, to applying herbicides, pre-emergents, regulators and biologicals.

The garden center — which is open from April to Dec. 31 — has 3 acres of land and about 200,000 square feet of growing space.

Photo courtesy of Ebert’s Greenhouse Village

Wenninger says the market for Ebert’s is “great.” However, the climate made things tough last year.

“The weather was crummy,” he says. “ … It was just too cold and too much snow, and last year was the first time we opened for one week in April and closed the next week because we got 15 inches of snow. That’s never happened before.”

But even with the extended season, Wenninger says last year was still the biggest startup with the worst winter.

“It gave people cabin fever and as soon as nice weather came, people came out in droves. This year was the same thing; crummy weather in the beginning, then lots of people.” Because of that, Ebert’s finished 8% above last year.

Photo courtesy of Ebert’s Greenhouse Village

As for this year, their fall season is “looking pretty good,” according to Wenninger. They even have plans to build a new, 10,000 square foot greenhouse that will be open from February through December.

“That’s going to lengthen our season and it’s going to be climate controlled,” he says. “We wanted a place where our customers can actually go and feel comfortable, get out of the rain and also see a bunch of displays full of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, succulents and hanging baskets.”

For common purchases, Wenninger says they’re dependent upon the weather. If they have a wet April — like last year — people come back for perennials, trees and shrubs because they drown, he says. But sometimes there’s more promise with annuals. “It just varies each year,” Wenninger says.

What does not vary, however, is their busiest time during mid-May to late April, where they do 80% of their sales for the year.

For future plans, Ebert’s wants to expand by turning the second greenhouse into a new store and eventually grow the original location overall. As of now, Wenninger says Ebert’s caters to the 1990 version of the market, which has “grown exponentially since then.” Now, they’re “bursting at the seams” with their current store, and according to him, the new store will be bigger and able to handle more people, which they’re excited for.