Top-shelf service

Increasing Profits - Begonias

Telly’s Greenhouse has a booming begonia business in part because of its relationship with Plantpeddler.

August 24, 2022

Photo: Telly’s Greenhouse

George Papadelis owns Telly’s Greenhouse, a grower-retailer based in Troy, Michigan. There, he says, he chose growing plants over medical school. More than three decades later, it’s a choice he’s still glad he made.

“It’s been a pretty wild ride,” he says, “between growing our own product and being very selection oriented, very service oriented. The way I run my business, I have my hands in everything. But because of our reputation for high quality and good service, it’s been smooth sailing in terms of sustaining the business and this sustaining me.”

For Begonia production, Telly’s purchases their liners from Plantpeddler, the Cresco, Iowa-based young plant producer. Papadelis says the quality they get from Plantpeddler is part of why the crop sells well for them.

“I think it’s our number one selling genus, ahead of Impatiens and Calibrachoa and Petunias,” he says. “There’s a lot of diversity there, both for bedding, patio pots and hanging baskets. And where it used to be half of the genus was for the shade and the other half for sun or shade, it seems like because of the genetics that people like [Plantpeddler owner] Mike [Gooder] are offering, we can offer more and more begonias that will thrive in full sun.”

In working with Plantpeddler, Papadelis says the company’s dedication to service and providing all of the information he needs to grow successful products is what separates them from the competition. Last year, he moved all of his Begonia business to Plantpeddler.

“Between their catalog, the way they present different items in their catalog and their trial garden where you can just walk up and just see the plants performing under different conditions, and talking to Mike whenever you have a question about varieties, it’s pretty hard to not succeed. He sells a good quality product, but his focus on Begonias and all of the information they have is what really raises the bar. It’s really, really valuable,” Papadelis says.

He also notes that Plantpeddler delivers plants directly to his facility. He says it’s another factor that makes doing business with Plantpeddler an obvious choice for his needs. He receives three deliveries direct from Cresco — one in February, one in March and one in April.

“I know it may not seem like a big deal, but if you order more than two racks, he’ll deliver right to your door,” he says. “When plants are coming in boxes from a third party, there’s always some risk — whether it’s frozen or someone played football with it. With Mike’s team, when you open the truck and see the plants, they are all perfect and beautiful.”