Small Business Spotlight: Farmers Market Greenhouse
Being a small business owner is a tough job! That’s why we feature a different small business in our Small Business Spotlight every month. Today we visit Farmers Market Greenhouse in Ross County.
If you have ever traveled Route 50 west through Chillicothe and out of town, you have passed Farmers Market Greenhouse. If you haven’t stopped there, you likely don’t realize that it is a special place. Not only do they sell quality plants, it’s a family operation with a great mom and pop vibe.
Owners Steve and Maureen Thomas have owned this greenhouse and the adjacent gas station and convenience store since 1980. However, the roots of this place run deep. The business opened in the fifties and Steve’s father purchased it in 1964. Steve, Maureen and their son now run the business which keeps regulars coming back year after year.
Steve’s dad had always sold plants but Steve enlarged that area of the business. In fact, they built a large new greenhouse in 2008 so they could grow their own annuals and vegetable plants instead of buying them from other greenhouses.
Steve said they are known for their healthy and uncommon plants. For example, they sell a type of cherry tomato that was bred to grow in hanging baskets. Blackberry Jam Petunias have an unusual color while their Carolina Reeper hot peppers satisfy even the hottest craving palate.
They grow hanging baskets, perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetable plants plus a selection of garden seeds. They also sell flower pots, plant food, garden soil and other items commonly used by the backyard gardener.
“We are known for our quality selection, healthy plants and our price. We don’t get big city prices for any of this stuff,” he grinned. “That big hanging basket over there would bring $40 in Columbus but it’s $20 here. We try to keep things affordable.”
Most customers likely don’t realize the time and science behind running a greenhouse. They start in January by cleaning the greenhouse from top to bottom. Around January 10, they begin starting the slow growing plants before moving on to hanging baskets, small pots and flats. “It can be labor intensive but plants don’t talk back,” he quipped. “I’m pretty happy when the planting is done and when our customers are back.”
They have a 9,000 square foot greenhouse plus two smaller greenhouses and space for growing outdoors. That large greenhouse has its own weather system. It is programmed for an optimal growing temperature and for the roof to automatically open when the temperature gets above 75 degrees.
With all their years of experience, Steve said they are happy to answer questions and are happy to point out the plants that will work in a customer’s growing space.
At 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, the greenhouse had a healthy stream of visitors popping by to fill their carts with flower and vegetable plants for the growing season. He said they try to appeal to a wide range of tastes. “Some people like something a little different and others like to plant the same things every year. We try to be ready for everyone.”
He said some local businesses order custom planters to resell while many of their customers bring in pots to be filled. He pointed to three large artfully filled pots that belong to a customer whose mixed sun and shade porch will soon host pots that they filled for them.
Farmers Market Greenhouse still has plenty of pretty items to choose from but they are running low on stock for summer planting. If you miss their summer flowers, be sure to stop in later this year for fall flowers.
Farmers Market Greenhouse is located at 19321 US 50, just outside Chillicothe. Call them at 740.779.9282 or click here to follow them on Facebook!