All Seasons Garden Center is celebrating decades in business with a fun family environment featuring music and classes.
The locally owned florist, 5101 S. Washington St., offers greenhouses open year-round, nursery and landscaping services, as well as floral arrangements, a gift shop and garden store. All Seasons is celebrating 40 years in business as well as Small Business Saturday, with a variety of activities, not only for the anniversary, but to encourage people to shop locally.
“All I want to say is where did the years go? My, it’s gone fast,” said Georgia Heitmann. Once the owner of the business with her husband, Dieter, they have passed it on to their daughters, Jill Heitmann-Kiel, and her husband, Scott, and Jan Heitmann.
Part of the celebration on Saturday, Nov. 30, will see a Winter Wreath Workshop, with additional classes throughout the weekend.
“They can choose an artificial wreath or a fresh wreath, so that’s already done,” said Jan Heitman. “Then we instruct them and show them the tips and tricks for adorning that wreath, for their door or inside.”
Coffee, cider, homemade cookies and a hot cocoa bar will be available for the business’ 40th anniversary, as well as a pianist to set the festive mood. There will be two designated areas for photo opportunities. The Myra Museum has lent All Seasons an antique sleigh for photos amidst the Christmas trees, with another country scene set up in the greenhouse with poinsettias.
Georgia Heitmann was quick to point out the changing trends in shopping at businesses such as All Seasons.
“People now are looking for experiences,” she said. “So we’ve had a mom bring her daughter, even a grandchild, daughter-in-law and make it a day event. People like that, plus you get to take something home with you.”
All Seasons has faced its share of challenges over the years. In 2001, the business suffered severe hail damage.
“Every single roof in the entire place was ruined,” said Jill Heitmann-Kiel.
In addition to all the long hours of work it took to recover from the damage, insurance was also an issue.
“It’s not affordable to carry greenhouse insurance,” said Georgia Heitmann.
When asked how they managed to get through the disaster, Jill Heitmann-Kiel responded: “You have no choice; you just do what you have to do. And if that’s midnight some nights, that is what it is.”
The nature of the business itself poses additional risks for All Seasons.
“Probably the biggest challenge is growing and nurturing a perishable product,” said Georgia Heitmann. “The time it takes to do that… Most of your sales are done within a six-week period in the spring. You plan for that and hope the weather and everything else cooperates.”
The ever-changing nature of the marketplace also has posed issues for the business, with more shoppers going online. Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for All Seasons to show customers the merits of shopping locally.
“The internet is convenient, but people have to realize you need to support your local small business people,” said Georgia Heitmann. “They are the heart of your community …. As more and more stores close, there’s less and less opportunity for people to buy local.”
The snacks, cider and the cocoa-bar offer a way to create a family friendly shopping atmosphere.
“This is a business where you can bring children, and children are welcome,” said Georgia Heitmann.
Jan Heitmann jumped in to add: “It’s cute when kids come in the front door with grandma and grandpa and the kids say, ‘C’mon, fish first,’ and they head right in the greenhouse because they need to see the fish (in the koi pond).”
Registration is necessary for people interested in taking part in the Wreath Workshop and other classes. To register, call All Seasons Garden Center at (701) 746-7777.