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Flowers on Main in Georgetown, Illinois is continuing to grow. The business, owned by Chrisman graduate Nick Krabel and his wife, Laura, recently added another greenhouse to keep up with the constant business.
Before buying the Georgetown location, Laura had two flower shops, one in Minooka, Illinois and the other Joliet, Illinois.
“When this place came up, we were driving around and saw it was for sale and started negotiations for it,” Nick said. “We ended up buying it in 2010 and opened December of that year.”
The business started with just the flower shop and eventually the greenhouse plants were brought in and they began growing themselves in 2012. In that year, Flowers on Main did two hundred baskets.
“This year, we will plant 3,500.”
As the business started to grow, Krabel worked with Phipps’ farming until the flower shop got big enough. “We didn’t know that it was going to be that big so fast.”
Learning what each flower and plant needed to flourish was an experience. “We did a lot of trials, things that didn’t work out, but we learned,” Nick told us. “We learned this by the seat of our pants.”
One thing the pair had to learn was what temperatures to keep the greenhouses for the different plants. For the vegetables and petunias, the temperature only needs to be set at forty degrees. “It slows the growth and makes them not stringy,” Krabel said. “We’ve got seven different greenhouses running at seven different temperatures.”
With that many plants, different systems have been installed throughout the property. A sprinkler system turns on to water most of the plants. The four inch pots have to be watered by hand and take usually four to five hours. For the 2,300 geraniums, the plants are sat on a flood bench that waters from the bottom. Once done, a valve is then opened to let the excess water drain.
The system can also be used for specific plants that need acid in their soil and be changed for those that don’t.
With notes from the previous years, this gives the Krabel’s an idea of how much to plant. “Every year we plant more and more,” Nick said. “We just keep bumping it up.” The business is big enough now that growers send their own climate controlled truck to keep the plants regulated, rather than through UPS.
At the time of the interview, a semi load of plugs were to be delivered later that afternoon. Plugs are small-sized seedlings grown in seed trays filled with potting soil. This type of plug is used for commercially raising vegetables and bedding plants.
Part of growing a business is working with other shops in the area. Flowers on Main works with Barry’s in Danville and various pumpkin farms for mums. “We sell them wholesale to some other flower shops,” Krabel said. “We get more of a variety if we do wholesale.”
The business has had a couple of setbacks. First being in 2016 when a car jumped the curb and crashed into one of their greenhouses, bending the entire frame of the house. “We had to get guys from Wisconsin down here to fix it. It was about $50,000 worth of damage.”
Another setback has been inflation. One of the houses built in 2016 that was forty feet larger than one just built only cost $12,000. This year, it cost $22,000. “All of our pots, plugs and soil has gone up,” Krabel said. “We’re trying to buy a second location, or build on my mom and dad’s property. We might have to wait until prices go down.”
The last week of April, the new greenhouses will be open for business. Broccoli, lettuce and cabbage grown in the greenhouse will be available.
If you would like to purchase flowers or plants from Flowers on Main, give them a call at 217-662-2300.