It has been an unusual year, but it did not bring Green Circle Growers' expansion plans to a standstill. Currently, they are adding 6 acres to their 106 acres of covered greenhouse space, which is planned to be finished by March 2021 and will be filled with foliage and succulents. In this article, Rik Reinink tells us more about the unusual year and the expansion project they are currently working on.

Family business
Green Circle Growers was founded in 1968 by John van Wingerden in Oberlin, Ohio. With more than 50 years in the business, they continue to be a family owned business with strong Dutch heritage. Over the years, they have grown and today, they have over 106 acres of covered greenhouse space and 40 acres of outdoor growing space. They grow a large range of products and are continuously expanding their portfolio of indoor plants, including orchids, seasonal crops, other tropical plants, foliage, and succulents.

'Make Every Day Better With Plants'
Their focus has been and continues to be to fulfill their mission: To make every day better with plants. "Our vision is to have a Green Circle Growers plant in the eyesight of every person in North America", adds Reinink. In order to achieve this, they are continuously innovating and improving their craft. "We are investing in expanding our capacity where it makes the most sense. We are strengthening our teams and creating centers of excellence in Supply Chain, Technology and Marketing."

Just Add Ice Orchids

COVID-19 impact
April was a tough month for many in the industry, also for Green Circle growers. How have they dealt with it? Reinink: "In the midst of the hectic period, we adjusted to customers’ needs for flexibility with order changes and cancellations, and we have worked in partnership to innovate around supply chain challenges. In fact, across many retailers during this time we were able to adapt to the distribution center congestion caused by the pandemic and create new direct-store-delivery (DSD) models and in-store display options to meet uninterrupted customer demand for our items. As supply chains re-opened in May, we have been able to pivot rapidly and support our customer’s double-digit category sales gains from heightened consumer demand throughout the summer and early fall. We are excitedly collaborating on our customers’ long-term plans now and are building bright futures together in support of surging consumer interest.

And what about transportation? "At Green Circle Growers, we talk about integrated horticulture. What we mean is that we are vertically integrated. GCG concentrates in growing the best quality plants. Our sister company, Express Seed, has decades-long relationships with breeders all over the world. We have another sister company, Fresh2U. Fresh2U was developed to ensure timeliness, care in loading and unloading, proper temperature control, and overall high quality care when transporting fresh floral products. The Fresh2U operation has helped us reach 75% of the North American market in 2 days." 

Wild interiors with succulents

“New Normal”
According to Reinink, the future for flowers and plants looks bright. "We believe companies have realized that employees can be productive working from home. We see that the trend of more flexible schedules will endure in a more pronounced way. This means a large portion of people will continue to have online meetings and have needs to decorate their home offices with plants. In addition, most people will continue to spend more time with their indoor and outdoor gardens, so at least for the foreseeable future they will be spending more time at home. Lastly, we believe that people will continue to purchase more plants online and expect eCommerce sales to continue to grow, leading us to continue investment in support of the omnichannel retail environment."

Six-acre expansion
In order to fulfill their mission and vision, Green Circle Growers decided to invest in expanding their foliage and succulent production capacity. "We see that these categories are growing and becoming increasingly popular. In order to supply more of these products, we decided to increase our covered greenhouse acreage by 6 acres." Currently the 6 acres of concrete is being poured - which is quite an incredible sight. The additional greenhouse is expected to be finished by March 2021.

For more information
Green Circle Growers
Rik Reinink