Two Major Growers Recovering and Rebuilding After Fires
Two major growers in Pennsylvania and Michigan are recovering and rebuilding after fires swept through their facilities recently.
A massive fire destroyed the main office building at Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI, early in the morning on Sunday, January 15.The first fire, which occurred at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA, on January 3, damaged the main building used for packing and shipping and destroyed bulbs and flowers waiting for shipment. Despite the damage, employees are busy planting and preparing for the spring season.
It’s “Game on at Dan Schantz,” according to the company’s Facebook page, and co-owner Patrick Flanley says it’s business as usual for the company’s customers, who will not be affected by the fire and should still receive their products on time.
Firefighters from more than four counties battled the three-alarm fire, which consumed the production, shipping, storage, maintenance, and soil rooms at Dan Schantz, causing more than $1 million in damages. Crews arrived to battle the fire around 8:30 p.m. January 3, and worked through the night to contain the blaze. Fire marshalls believe an electrical short in the head house sparked the blaze.
The company was able to salvage some materials from the receiving department, and its satellite locations have pitched in to lend a hand with production.
“The first week after the fire was slow getting started, but we are planting daily,” Flanley says.
Partners and long-time employees have come together to re-build. Once workers clear the area, the rebuild will start, with an expected mid-summer completion, Flanley says.
Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses is No. 33 on Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top 100 Grower list with 1,814,381 square feet of environmentally controlled space and 10 acres of field production. It operates from four locations, three in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland, growing a variety of annuals, indoor blooming and foliage plants, Easter bulbs, poinsettias, fall flowers, edibles, and more. In addition to its wholesale customers, the company supplies its retail store in Allentown, PA.
Fire Destroys Main Office Building at Spring Meadow Nursery
A massive fire destroyed the main office building at Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI, early in the morning on Sunday, January 15. Six fire departments responded to the blaze and were successful in keeping the fire from spreading to any greenhouses or other structures.
Early estimates from Robinson Township Fire Department Chief Paul VanVelzen put the damage at $1.5 million, according to a Fox News Channel 17 article.
On its Facebook page, the operation stated:
“We are fortunate that no one was hurt and damage to our growing structures was minimal. We can replace things, we can replace walls, but we can’t replace our team of employees. Thank you all so much for your concern and support.”
Spring Meadow Public Relations Manager Mark Osgerby says no greenhouses suffered any major damage, and all remain fully operational. No plants or growing space were lost in the fire, and customer orders are unaffected and completely secure for the coming season.
The growing operation’s offices are currently being relocated on the property and will be fully operational with phone and email service by mid-week this week. Spring Meadow Nursery plans to continue to provide the same level of high-quality customer service and plant product as it works to replace its infrastructure.
Osgerby says while the cause of the fire is unknown, the building was fully insured. Safeguards to protect important documents allowed for Spring Meadow to recover data after the fire.
“By placing critical documents in fireproof cabinets and maintaining offsite backups of all digital files, we lost no data or important information,” he says.
Plans are already in process for a new and larger office to accommodate the continuously growing staff necessary to serve a growing customer base.
Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc., produces flowering shrubs and potted liners, and is a plant breeder that also represents other breeders. The nursery grows more than 500 varieties of woody ornamental plants, including 274 varieties marketed under the Proven Winners Color Choice brand, like Invincibelle Spirit II Hydrangea, Incrediball Hydrangea, Bloomerang lilacs, Wine & Roses weigela, and more.
For tips on how to protect your greenhouse from disasters such as these, check out an article posted on GreenhouseGrower.com last year.