For this issue of Greenhouse Grower, I wrote stories on two companies with mindsets and philosophies that are quite different — but are somehow still similar. Our cover story subject, Blooming Nursery, in Cornelis, Ore., is a mid-size operation, dedicated to independent garden centers, that prides itself on never having sold to a big box store. Timberline Nursery, the grower featured in our Under Contract series this month, is a big supplier to Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and Kmart. Down in the heat of Texas, Timberline contracts 300,000 square feet of growing area. Blooming Nursery supplies liners to other growers.
How are they alike? They’re not just surviving. They’re thriving. Victor Vasquez, general manager at Timberline tells me the company is planning to add 300,000 square feet of greenhouse area in the next year. Expansion is also in Blooming Nursery’s future. Owner Grace Dinsdale says her company needs a few more acres of greenhouse space and plans are in the works to construct them by the end of 2007.
Something else that I noticed about these companies is how important their employees and co-workers are to them. Production is important, putting out a quality product is important. At the end of my interviews with them, I asked the questions I think most interviewees hate, “Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any other thoughts?” They both turned back to people they work with.
“We have these really talented, smart, hard-working people that have been here a long time and really know how to produce what we produce, and that has a lot to do with our consistency,” Dinsdale says. “In the last few years, we’ve brought in some people with different perspective, different industry experience. In merging those two groups, we’ve got real strength.”
Vazquez told me about the contract growers he works with and the open lines of communication between them. “We’ve known each other for a long time and we trust each other,” he says. “We want to succeed. We want Timberline to succeed. We want them to succeed because we need each other.”
Getting From Point A To Point B
Outside of finding those few key staff members, are transportation issues making it difficult to get your plants to where they need to be? If you’re like other growers we’ve heard from lately, the answer is yes. Gas prices and labor shortages (the trucking company is feeling the pinch, too) are just a few of the reasons why you should start thinking about logistics issues.
This month, we begin a series on Distribution, Trucking and Logistics written by Tim Higham, president and CEO of Interstate Transport. We hope his words give you some ideas to put into action.