Heidenreich Greenhouses is celebrating its 56th birthday
While the greenhouse business has changed drastically over the past 30 years, one thing has remained constant: the quality of plants and flowers sold at Heidenreich Greenhouses, where for nearly six decades the Heidenreich family has put a little love and sweat into everything it sells.
Bill Heidenreich Sr. and his wife, Pat, launched the business in 1956 at 502 E. National Ave., and it’s still there.
Son Bill Heidenreich Jr., 50, has been active in the endeavor for 32 years and now owns the business. He recalls that his mom “was the heart and soul of the retail side of the business.” His dad still comes in every day and helps out wherever he can.
While the younger Heidenreich is proud of everything he sells – and that’s a lot of merchandise – he gives the nod to his geraniums as being his favorite product. Also high on the list are his bedding flowers and plants, hanging baskets, Knockout roses and tropical plants: hibiscuses, majesty palms and Mandevillas.
“We also have ferns, trailing verbena, New guinea impatiens, 75 varieties of potted perennials, onion sets, 25 different kinds of vegetable seeds and bulk corn seed,” he said. There are also tomato, pepper, cucumber and berry plants: raspberry, strawberry and blueberry.
“When customers come here, they find better quality than what is available at the big-box stores. I tell my customers that we don’t have the best, but we sure don’t have junk. If you don’t find what you are
“If you don’t find what you are looking for here, stop by the other family-owned shops on the Southside; chances are they might have it.”
Probably no business is affected more by the weather than a gardening shop. “Who wants to go out and work in the yard when its cold and rainy”? said Heidenreich, who noted thwat he’s been fortunate to have enjoyed good weather so far this spring.
With Mother’s Day on Sunday, this week could be his biggest one of the year. “The weather looks good,” he said with a smile. “If you don’t make it in May, it will be a long winter.”
If it’s cold or rainy around Mother’s Day, his customer count will be way down. “As opposed to bringing their moms here, they will take her to a movie, out to dinner or even bowling, but they won’t be here. You can’t make up that lost business.”
Heidenreich works long hours – 7 a.m.-9 p.m. during the busy season – and his wife, Sherry, is right there by his side. “Sherry’s my best worker and best friend. She is a workaholic. I wish I had two or three employees like her.”
The couple have three daughters, Magen, 31; Mollie, 24; and Maddie, 19, a freshman at Marian University. “They have all helped over the years,” he said.
The Heidenreichs will close their shop for the summer around mid- to late June; the heat will dictate that. That hotter it is, the sooner they’ll close. They’ll reopen in mid-September for about six weeks to sell mums, asters, pumpkins, bales of hay, corn stalks and other Halloween/fall decorations.
As for selling Christmas trees in December, he’s not sure as last year’s undertaking wasn’t profitable.
Bill and Sherry are usually open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. But if the weather is really nasty, they might cut out early. And on the other hand, if Mother Nature is being cooperative, you’ll find the couple peddling their wares later than their normal hours.