After 25-plus years, Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse in Delaware, Ohio, has closed its retail store to focus solely on its fundraising business.
President and founder Mark Foertmeyer says they made the decision to begin winding down retail operations about a year ago.
“It’s a bittersweet decision,” Foertmeyer says. “We had some nice customers. It was easy from a business standpoint, but emotionally it was difficult.”
The greenhouse posted the following statement on its Facebook page and website:
“We made the difficult decision to permanently close our retail store. We would like to thank our customers for 25-plus years of loyalty and friendship. We are so thankful for your support throughout the years. This change, although difficult, is due to the fact that we have greater positive impact in many local communities, state-wide with our fundraising programs.”
According to the post, Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse has helped raise nearly $40 million for schools and other community groups since 1988 through its plant fundraising programs, which they offer in spring, fall and during the holidays.
“When we did the math, it was pretty shocking to us that we had reached those numbers,” Foertmeyer says. “This is our 31st year doing school fundraisers, and it’s always been the core of our business. We are finally coming to a place where it’s our complete focus. … The store is not closing because we failed, we just needed to shift our focus 100 percent on what we do best.”
Foertmeyer & Son's Greenhouse, photographed in June 2013. Michelle Simakis
When Foertmeyer started the business, he did not intend on having a retail segment, but the store grew organically as people driving by stopped in and wanted to buy plants.
ALSO READ: A man with a mission: Mark Foertmeyer of Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse Co. strives to lead the horticulture industry into the next generation.
Foertmeyer, a 2017 Horticultural Industries Leadership Awards recipient, has been working with the nonprofit, Columbus, Ohio-based group Autism Power, which helps adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder gain meaningful employment. One of the reasons Foertmeyer decided to keep the retail division open in 2018 was to ease the transition for employees who were working through Autism Power. Foertmeyer is still partnering with the organization, hiring people to work in the growing operations, which are expanding.
“We’re building another 50,000 sq. ft. to help meet the demand, and then we are also developing a 15-acre site up the road, which will probably take a couple of years to develop,” Foertmeyer says, adding that the new site will be covered operations. The current location includes about 7 acres of production, with 3.5 to 4 acres covered, he says.
Foertmeyer offers poinsettias, petunias, calibrachoas, hanging baskets, edibles and more through its seasonal fundraising programs. Fall is the most profitable, and one of the star products is the company’s Fall Mumkins – mums planted in Halloween-themed decorative pots.
Foertmeyer began working with partner growers about four years ago and is hoping to expand and establish a network.
“Our hope is that as we develop our business, that we will be able to open some opportunities for other growers and provide the marketing and the sales support to the schools and have a network of partner growers,” he says. “We’re doing that already on a smaller scale.”
The company also recently introduced online ordering for group fundraisers, which it has been developing during the past three years and launched this past fall. The website allows people to order online and has resources, such as instructional videos and plant tips.
“We have the ability now to effectively reach that younger generation, because we work primarily with elementary schools. There are a lot of kids that we can help develop an appreciation and comfort growing plants,” Foertmeyer says. “These young kids also have young parents who are the ‘mysterious Millennials,’ who are really just people. But I think we can help them be more comfortable with plants … and make a contribution to our industry.”
Associate Editor Giovanni Castelli contributed to this story.
Ronald Valentin has been named director of technical business at BioWorks, home to the RootShield, BotaniGard, BotryStop, CEASE, Molt-X, MilStop, NemaShield, PreFence and SuffOil-X brands of biopesticides and Verdanta and ON-Gard brands of biofertilizers. In his new position, Valentin will be increasing BioWorks ability to deliver personalized programs and support to BioWorks customers in North America.
Valentin has over 20 years of sales and support experience in biological control, working closely with growers to set up sustainable and effective pest management programs. He previously held positions at Bioline AgroSciences, Biobest, Foliera and Koppert. With experience training and managing technical support teams in Europe, Canada and the United States, Valentin has become a recognized knowledge leader among growers and a sought after writer and speaker.
"Ronald is an exciting addition to the BioWorks team," said Bill Foster, CEO of BioWorks. "His experience and customer focus will make significant contributions to our ability to serve customers."
Valentin can be reached at (289) 213-6787 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbus, Ohio – The 2019 AmericanHort HortScholars program is now accepting applications through March 1, 2019, from students in horticulture-related degree programs of any degree level. Students wishing to apply may do so online at AmericanHort.org/Scholars.
HortScholars is a seven-day program that sets students in horticulture on a path to success by exposing them to the breadth of the horticulture industry, its opportunities, and its leaders at the industry’s leading trade show – Cultivate. The program offers a beyond-the-classroom experience, insight and awareness of the industry, and professional development via education sessions, networking, and working with industry mentors.
In 2018, AmericanHort received a record number of applications from students across the nation in top-level horticulture programs. Each year, the student’s applications show passions as vast as the horticulture industry. HortScholars’ majors have ranged from Horticultural Plant Production to Sustainable Plant Systems and from Landscape Architecture to Genetics.
Why should you become a HortScholar? To spend seven days in Columbus, Ohio prior to and during Cultivate’19 with paid-for meals, lodging, and an all-access pass to Cultivate, as well as a one-year membership with AmericanHort. HortScholars experience the behind-the-scenes logistics of readying the Columbus Convention Center for Cultivate and have exclusive opportunities for in-depth discussions with industry leaders, including the AmericanHort Board of Directors. These meetings provide HortScholars with insights into the industry and valuable contacts for their professional networks moving forward in their careers.
Daniel Greenwell, a 2017 HortScholar, highly recommends the program. “The HortScholars program connected us with important figures in the industry which helped me build my confidence in networking with new people. More important than anything, in my fellow 2017 HortScholars, I gained five amazing new friends and peers from very diverse backgrounds that I would never have met otherwise.” Daniel has now graduated and gone on to become the Horticulture Program Director at Piedmont Technical College.
Interested in applying? Simply visit AmericanHort.org/Scholars to complete your application by March 1, 2019. AmericanHort’s GenerationNext Community Connectors will evaluate the applications, then choose twelve finalists who will provide a short video on why they want to be a HortScholar. The six 2019 HortScholars will be chosen from those finalists. “HortScholar alumni have become valued members of the horticulture industry,” AmericanHort VP of marketing & member engagement, Mary Beth Cowardin says. “Whether they are running their own business, making new strides in crucial research, or pushing the limits of how horticulture products are marketed and shared, HortScholar alumni are the upcoming movers and shakers of the horticulture industry.”
Questions about the 2019 HortScholars Program? Contact Katie Gustafson at KatieG@AmerianHort.org for more information.
Check out our video interviews with the 2018 HortScholars:
For more than 30 years, National Garden Bureau (NGB) has been showcasing and promoting their members’ new plant varieties in the inspirational program appropriately named “New Plants.”
You can search through 120+ new plants to find what your customers are seeking. This is your one-stop-shop for the newest of the new! Use this link to view ornamentals and this link to view edibles, both of which are a great tool to help plan your 2019 blogs, articles, videos, radio shows and more.
Photos, descriptions and other resources are available on National Garden Bureau’s website.
NGB has long been promoting its member’s new plants. Over time, this program has generated tremendous consumer and industry publicity. The entire industry— breeders, brokers, seed companies, growers, nurseries and garden centers —are urged to highlight these flowers and plants when planning their 2019 marketing.
Publicity of the 2019 “New Plants” to the garden writer community began in August 2018 during the GWA Annual Symposium in the NGB sponsored “New Plant Showcase.” Publicity direct to the consumer begins in January 2019 via the NGB e-newsletters and social media posts.