Gro-Rite Greenhouse & Garden Center is closing its retail business after nearly a half-century

Gro-Rite Greenhouse & Garden Center in Lincoln Park is closing its doors to the public after being in operation since 1973. In a message to customers on its Facebook page, the garden center said it will focus on its wholesale agriculture.

“Gro-Rite Garden Center will be closing our doors to our Retail Garden Center. We will be focusing on the Wholesale Agriculture Division and will no longer be open to the public after 01/15/2022,” the post said. 

Gro-Rite, which sprawls over more than 100 acres at two locations, operates a wholesale business that supplies supermarkets, among other retail businesses.

Owner Ken VandeVrede said in an interview in 2018 that he had started a company called Hillview Med to grow cannabis to meet increasing demand. He could not be reached for comment. 

Gro-Rite was a staple supplier of plants and vegetables. "We carry the area's best selection of plant material from colorful annuals, hanging baskets, herbs, and vegetable plants to perennials and planters, trees, shrubs, and evergreens,” the company said on a social media post. 

Dave and Gerda VandeVrede opened the garden center in 1973, and eventually expanded their greenhouse growing space, creating opportunities for wholesale.

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