Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How it all began.


(photo from internet)

Lots of you have been asking what’s up with this market thing so I am going to tell you. It all started in a little town in Florida when I was born the son of poor sharecropper. Ok although we were very poor, my father was a Fireman, not a sharecropper and that’s going back a little bit too far. It would take way too much time to write so let me start at a more recent point. How about 5 years ago. That’s when our plant business began.

That summer, my oldest son was bored and also wanted some money so he decided to set up a lemonade stand in front of our house. Well if you knew where we actually live you might think this was a bad idea because the only ones who drive by live on the mile of road that lies past our house. Well except for the mail lady and an occasional lost person. So he sat out there day after day and sold lemonade to the mail lady and a few neighbors. Business was slow and there wasn’t a lot of money to be made at 50 cents per glass.

So one day he asked my wife and I if we had anything else that he could sell. We had some day lilies blooming at the time so my wife humored him and let him take a few of them out to his stand with the lemonade and he made up a sign that said “Flowers for Sale”. We figured that after a few days in the hot sun the flowers would be dead from the heat and he would lose interest. Well before long, someone stopped by and bought all the flowers he was selling. Now instead of 50 cents he had $20.50 and a stronger desire to sell plants. So my wife and I went through our gardens and took out a bunch more day lilies for him to sell. He spent most of the summer selling lemonade and day lilies in our front yard and made a lot of money.

We spent that fall and the next spring separating day lilies from our gardens and were surprised at how many we had. I would say that we had several hundred but the next summer. However, sales in front of our house were slow because everyone who knew us had all the plants that they wanted. So my son tried to get into a little market at our nearest grocery store parking lot but they wanted $25.00 to have a table there and they were already full. Not wanting him to lose his interest, I called a local flea market and found out that tables there were only $8.00 so the next Saturday, he and I headed out there with a load of plants. I think for the first few weekends, we sold almost everything that we brought.

The day lilies finished blooming and we needed something else to sell so we took some of our water plants and also some tadpoles. It was my son’s idea and I didn’t see much use in it since no one in their right mind was going to buy a tadpole. Well he sold all the tadpoles at $1.00 each and we found out that we could sell other plants too. So we started taking all kinds of plants out of our yard and I built a greenhouse to start growing more. By the third year we had all kinds of plants including about 800 day lilies. We had more plants than we could take to the flea market so my son started looking for somewhere else to sell plants.


We had heard that there was a winery on the island but we never knew where it was. One day while my wife was riding her bicycle, she found it. It was about a mile from our house and on the same road. Imagine that. After visiting there, my son decided that it was a good place to sell plants. I really didn’t think they would let him but after much badgering, we took him down to meet the owners so he could ask. They thought it was a great idea so he set up a table and began selling his plants at the winery. They owners needed another employee so they soon hired my wife.

So the 4th year rolled around and the owner of the winery asked me if I wanted to work in their booth at the Charleston Farmers Market. She also suggested that my son sell his plants alongside me in the same booth. And that is how it came to pass that I sell wine and plants at the Charleston Farmers Market. Because everything is local it really goes along with the other products down there. Our growing process is earth friendly because we recycle pots whenever possible and we don’t use pesticides and only a minimum amount of weed killer. We also use compost that comes from our local landfill. The wine is very natural and only the minimum amount of sulfites are added and it contains a very high amount of resveratroll.




So there you have it. The story of how we ended up at the market. What started as a lemonade stand in our front yard is now a family business. And here are a few photos from this past Saturday. If you want to see more of our day lilies visit my son’s blog at Wadmalawgardens.blogspot.com. See you at the Market.








Have a great day,
Greg

27 comments:

lailani said...

Great story! I love how it grew . . .would he like to come help me out! hehe

Scarlet said...

A wonderful story and a nice group of pics to go with it...all this from a simple lemonade stand. :)

Katherine Aucoin said...

That is a wonderful story and I admire your son's inventiveness and ambition. I admire that your and your wife have been so supporitve!

skoots1mom said...

persistence pays off doesn't it??!!!
he's a great example to new business owners.
love the pics

The Dental Maven said...

Hey Greg! Love the story and the photo's make me want to drive down there on Saturday!!

Patrice said...

Wow, I love that!! I am ready for a road trip and ao I can join y'all for a day!!

Jenny said...

I think I need some Lemonade now:) Great story.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

Great story...I know that you're proud that your son is so industrious!

B His Girl said...

Wow! It started as a little thing and God grew it. I love flowers! B

Edie said...

Wow what a great story! I just love the way God orchestrates our circumstances to fulfill His plan for our lives. The bible says to find satisfaction in our work and it sounds like you've done just that.

Hmmm, I've been thinking of letting my grandaughter sell lemonade this summer. lol.

Terri Tiffany said...

I loved hearing about this! Your son is quite the entrepreneur and you parents are awesome in encouraging him!
The pictures helped me. Are you in the big park downtown? I walked through that too when we were there. I might have walked past your stand!

Edwina at The Picket Fence said...

A great story, thanks for sharing with us :)

Angie said...

You live in the garden spot I tell you! What a blessing. The market looks wonderful. Would love to stroll through it and sit a spell with you.

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

Love the story! The photos make me even more anxious for this weekend when our Farmer's Market finally opens.

Carmen Gamble said...

What a wonderful history. It's interesting how something seemingly insignificant, can blossom into a thriving family business. I love going to the Farmer's Market. It feels good to buy local organic produce. Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Greg C., you're my new hero. Oh and your son is too!

I just started packaging prepared foods for sale and I'm trying to figure out how to get started selling at farmers markets. I'm learning that California has all kinds of laws about where the food is prepared. Like it has to be made in a health board certified kitchen, which on some levels makes sense otherwise crazy people could sell bad food. Anyway, my findings have been a little discouraging.

But your story is encouraging! I will push on! Thanks for sharing your story.

Lori said...

Wow! I'm speachless! I'm pretty proud of all of you.

Daisy said...

Nice story...nice pictures!

Kristen said...

I always wondered how it all came about and what your relationship to the winery was, so thanks for filling us in! I bet you're a great salesman, too. :-) And, your son is so clever and resourceful! I'm glad it's been successful for all of you. I definitely want to visit the market some day.

ChrisJ said...

Sounds like you have a very enterprising young man in your family -- and now you have a nice little business too.

Susan Skitt said...

Wow, what a story. Your son is quite the enterprising little guy!

Looks like a beautiful market :)

And Greg, you have a gift for storytelling... I hope you know that.

Blessings!

Sandy said...

wow, fascinating story how it got started, so glad you wrote this up...what a go getter your son is.

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