“These days, one can buy plants almost everywhere. For example, you don’t have to go to a gardener to buy a buxes, in a big shopping mall you can buy them as well. The price is perhaps the only difference. The quality could be different, but that is not something a typical customer would notice. So, we decided to give the customer something else. An eventful journey in which we show our customer our tradition of craftmanship”, says Patrick Daepp of tree nursery and garden center Gartenpflanzen Deapp.
This year Daepp won the Taspo award for company of the year, followed by the second place in the category Garden Center. All that is thanks to their new experience center, which they opened on the first day of March. “It was a good decision indeed, since our sales were high and we got great reactions from our customers.”
The new building consist of three connected greenhouses. Two of them are regular greenhouses, heated and isolated, with a screen of Novavert to create an ideal climate for the plants that need to grow indoors. The quality of the screens is an important reason for their choice, as well as the cooperation with the Germany company.
“The third greenhouse is the most special. The architecture is the same, but it has an open roof, which was specially designed for us. We made not for the plants, but to give our customers that eventful experience.”
The idea started way back, when Patrick was studying horticulture engineering at Geisenheim University in Germany. “Our company started back in 1875. During my study I already knew that I would be the fifth generation to run the family business. In 2005 I took over the company and started to work on our new strategy.
To make his plans concrete, a long-term commitment was required. “In Switzerland, it is hard to get permission to build. To change something in the land use plan, the permission of the canton is needed. In 2004 we started the talk, and in 2012 they finally agreed. But it took again five years before construction finally could start.” Looking back, Patrick says the slow process wasn’t too bad. “This way, we have had lots of time to study our possibilities. Team members could bring in their ideas, I think that is important.”
Daepp offers a wide range of varieties. They grow over 4000 plant varieties, 2000 different perennials and 2000 kinds of trees and shrubs. Daepp’s principle is to sell mostly Swiss product. 70 percent of their products are produced by themselves. 15 percent elsewhere in Switzerland and the rest is produced in European countries like the Netherlands, Germany or Italy. Patrick visited a lot of garden centers in Great Britain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. “Sustainability is the trend. It has become more and more important to grow and sell in the same region.”
More changes took place under Patrick’s management. Daepp also opened this year an online shop. “For the moment we just focus on the solitair trees and big shrubs, which is unique for Switzerland. For the other products, our customers are more than welcome in our brand new garden center.”
“Our company is situated just outside the village. There’s no main road to our company. Therefore we invest a lot of our time into marketing to attract new customers. We see, once people know the location of our company, they will come back.”