As the industry got back together for Cultivate'21, we rode along on two independent garden center tours hosted by AmericanHort to explore six of Central Ohio's most innovative and unique shops. Take a virtual tour below for ideas an inspiration.
Greendigs Design Studio
Grandview Heights, Ohio
Greendigs Design Studio, a garden retail space conceived by Scotts Miracle-Gro, aims to provide shoppers with a high-end, hands-on experience. Part creative studio, part garden shop, space is dedicated to serving and educating houseplant parents. The studio features living installations, complete with a moss chair and a walled propagation station, along with department-focused vignettes as well as a potting station around which Greendigs is anchored. Developed by famed New York City-based designer David Stark, the brick-and-mortar location launched in January of 2021 after debuting online in August 2020.
Groovy Plants Ranch
True to its name, Groovy Plants Ranch (GPR) offers customers a break from the norm and lends itself as a prime garden center destination, even during the off-season summer months. The husband-and-wife duo of Jared and Liz can often be seen with their two young children, Lili and Trillium, along with their Australian shepherd, Phloxy, tending to customers or counting inventory. GPR specializes in perennials, annuals, houseplants, succulents, air plants, and cacti and is entirely outdoors. Customers can meander through the different stations, some of which feature blooming cacti intertwined with native plants, a 152-year-old schoolhouse, and even an Instagram-famous hippie van. GPR's artistic, informative signage (complete with handy QR codes) sets their customers up for success long after they leave the garden center.
What started off as a seed store, is now a 3-acre nursery with a mix of 85% retail and 15% landscape. The Columbus garden Center is one of four locations that bring in $35 to $40 million each year. The business also boasts a large landscape division with 15 crews.
Christmas trees are a big seller for Oakland, which sells about 3,000 each year that the Columbus store, and 20,000 to 25,000 across all four. The Columbus location also sells about 10,000 roses each year, along with fruit, nut and vegetable plants, perennials, annuals, patio tropicals, ornamental and shade trees and shrubs and more.
A Proper Garden
This lifestyle garden center is the product of two distinct owners: one interior designer and one horticulture professional. Located in the highest income county of Ohio (and 10th highest in the country), it’s focused on the higher end consumer. The business focuses on the customer’s whole home from inside to out.
A Proper Garden’s revenue is 40% retail, 40% landscape and 20% services such as indoor Christmas décor and potting. In fact, the business hosts a Christmas decorating seminar each year. The store also features a café with a full menu from beverages to salads, quiches and risotto all made from scratch right on the grounds.
Husband-and-wife team Brian Kellett and Emily Brown launched the STUMP flagship location in Columbus’ Italian Village in 2015 and have since expanded to seven locations across the U.S.
Their shop offers curated houseplants and pottery in a modernized retail setting, creating an experiential draw for trendy urbanites.
With Brown’s background in industrial design and Kellett’s background in photography, customers gravitate toward the sleek aesthetic. Neutral colors, minimal signage, and personable staff are big draws for STUMP’s millennial customers. STUMP showcases new arrivals on their location-specific Instagram pages, reaching their demographic where they’re already at — and gaining new customers through word of mouth in the process.
Wilson’s Garden Center
What started out as a produce stand more than 60 years ago has become a full-service retail garden center in Newark, Ohio. The IGC is 95% retail and 5% wholesale with $3 million in annual revenue. With a staff of 45 during peak season, Wilson’s provides hanging baskets to the city of Newark and offers Central Ohio area a vast selection of flowers and plants. With its own printing machine, the garden center prints all of this own signs in house, which you can see throughout the 105 square-foot facility.
After briefly closing when COVID hit, the garden center began offering e-commerce and curbside pickup. Since then, Wilson’s says the past two years have been their best in business, and they’re looking forward to thinking and reinvesting in 2022.