When Pete and Chip Shafer purchased Nanticoke Gardens in Endicott, New York, 90% of their business was retail sales. The brothers grew primarily spring bedding plants including annuals, perennials, vegetable transplants and hanging baskets that were sold to local home gardeners.
“We bought the operation in January 2011 and had a great first season,” says Pete. “In September of that year we were flooded out by Tropical Storm Lee. The storm wiped out everything. There was seven feet of water in the greenhouses and five feet of water in our barn.
“We lost everything including our poinsettia crop that had already been planted. From that year forward we didn’t grow poinsettias. We now contract with another grower to produce the poinsettias for us. We essentially became a poinsettia distributor and kept about 80% of our customer base.”
In 2014, the brothers purchased a separate property to grow their crops. After the 2011 flood they didn’t want to expand production in a flood plain, choosing instead to build additional greenhouses a few miles away from their original location. The company now operates about 160,000 square feet of greenhouse production space.
"We took on hemp in addition to our bedding plant production,” Chip says. “We are still a grower-retailer with the bedding plants. In the offseason, we have been expanding our production space at our second location due to the increased demand for both bedding plants and industrial hemp."
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