Greenway Farms delivers customer satisfaction to annual spring season
COOKSVILLE, Md. — For smaller plant nursery growers such as Greenway Farms, this year’s late occurring Easter holiday presents a boon opportunity to open the spring sales season early.
“When Easter’s late, we can move a couple baskets,” said Mike Healey, one of Greenway’s owners, gesturing toward the 10-inch hanging baskets filling both rods along the eaves and the expansive benches stretching back to front along a center aisle of their main greenhouse.
“We plant the baskets early — the second week of February — so we’re ready for Mother’s Day, Healey said.
The Mother’s Day weekend is, of course, their biggest selling weekend.
If they haven’t already, early in the week before Easter the Healeys begin delivering to the independent hardware stores and garden centers which constitute a major portion of their business.
Reflecting back on the last couple decades, Healey’s father and Greenway’s other owner, Dave, remarked on how much that aspect of their customer base had changed.
“There used to be several greenhouses, but most of the garden centers, especially in Howard County, have gone out of business,” he said.
On the bright side, Greenway continues to “do a huge Mother’s Day sale with the Boy Scouts at Westminster’s Spring Festival Market.” Because the Boy Scouts handle the selling side, this sale represents one of the few spring farmers markets that Greenway continues to participate in.”
Even though Greenway “did pick up some customers through the farmers markets, doing the farmers markets was almost a full-time job,” Mike said.
For several years, that full-time responsibility was handled by Mike’s sister-in-law; but, when she found her own full-time position, the Healeys decided it was better to move on from that venture.
Although they sell out everything each season, Mike said perhaps they should be more aggressive in looking to expand their customer base.
And yet, their good reputation continues to bring in new customers each season through word of mouth. “We just have a PTA in Damascus call us the other day,” said Mike.
“We buy the more expensive seeds, such as hybrids,” said Mike.
Additionally, he pointed out, they use the jumbo 606s for their market six-packs.
“They use more soil, a bit smaller than a three inch pot but not by much, but they create a nicer plant,” he said.
The end result is that they ensure that their customers will be more successful when they purchase their plants and put them in the ground at home.
“We’ve established a good relationship with our customers,” said Dave. “They can get pretty quick delivery as we can turn their orders around in a day or two.”
“We’ll do deliveries 7 days a week,” continued Mike. “We can be there at 7 o’clock on a Saturday morning if you want.” “And, our delivery fees are very minimal,” added Dave.
Weekends are, of course, their busiest.
The Healeys usually have a different crew in on the weekends helping out during the height of the season not only to get their deliveries out, but also to help out with late season needs in the greenhouses.
Before then, beginning in February and continuing through March and April, the Healeys have local ladies come in during the week to help out with the planting.
Although their baskets and annual flowers are grown from seedling plugs the Healeys order from nurseries in Maine and New Brunswick, Canada, the Healeys plant from seed all of the couple thousand flats of herbs and the majority of the several thousand flats of vegetables they sell each year.
“And then,” said Mike, “before you know it, it’ll all be over.” Added Dave, “We’re the best kept secret in Howard County.”
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925