Emerald Coast Growers founders and longtime industry members Dave and Wyona Babikow have officially retired from the business as of December 2013.
With their retirement, Dave and Wyona leave the company in the hands of its current owners: son Paul and daughter-in-law Maureen Babikow, son Mark Babikow, daughter Cheri Markowitz, daughter Bonnie Mietling and brother-in-law Albert Mueller.
“My father had a strong vision for the potential of ornamental grasses,” says Paul D. Babikow, president of Emerald Coast Growers. “He turned his passion into a thriving business of grasses and perennials.”
Dave’s grandfather, William E. Babikow, emigrated from Russia and began growing produce and eventually cut flowers for the Baltimore market in 1875. Dave grew up on the family flower farm with brothers Oliver (Buzz), founder of Green Leaf Enterprises and Paul Wesley, co-owner of Babikow Greenhouses.
Dave and Buzz would marry sisters, Wyona and Lee Moxley respectively, and Dave and Wyona later joined Buzz at Green Leaf, helping to grow the company into a leading perennial supplier.
In the early ’80s, Dave became interested in growing ornamental grasses. In 1991, Dave and Wyona, along with sons Paul and Mark, established an ornamental grass nursery in Pensacola, Fla. The newly formed company, Emerald Coast Growers, quickly expanded to become a leader in ornamental grass starter plants and eventually included a line of perennial starters.
As the company grew, additional family members joined and brought their strengths to the table. Emerald Coast Growers now employs more than 125 workers, including 12 family members.
“It’s been a privilege to be part of this industry,” says Dave. “Wyona and I have enjoyed watching the exciting direction our children have taken the company.”
For more information or to order any of Emerald Coast Growers’ products, call 877-804-7277 or visit ECGrowers.com.