Gerten's Garden Center, a family-owned Inver Grove Heights business that dates back to 1954, is in the midst of an expansion phase.
In July, the company started building a $2 million greenhouse at its Blaine Avenue property.
And earlier this month, Gerten's purchased 80 acres from Buell's Landscape and Design Center in Denmark Township, the Pioneer Press is reporting.
Gerten's plans to grow perennials, shrubs and evergreens and will open a retail facility there in a few years.
"It's ready for what we want to do right away," Owner Lewis Gerten, an Inver Grove Heights resident, told the paper. "We needed space, and we'd been looking for more land for years. This suits us well because it's a farm that we can grow on."
Inver Grove Heights Patch first reported on the Gerten's expansion in 2011:
Gerten, a co-owner of Gertens Greenhouses since 1989, wants to break ground on the first phase of the expansion this spring. The multi-phase, multi-year project, he said, could serve his business’ needs and facilitate growth for a decade or more. It would also allow Gertens to expand as many as 20 part-time positions into full-time jobs and increase the company’s total production by as much as 60 percent.
It’s not the first large expansion Gertens has undertaken: In 1996 the business expanded its 12,000-square-foot facility by almost 30,000 square feet. Because the business can grow plants on a tiered, multi-level system in the greenhouse, indoor growing is more space-efficient, Gerten said. Indoor greenhouses are also less vulnerable to extreme weather than outdoor growing fields, a lesson Gertens learned in 1967, when a hailstorm devastated a whole crop, Gerten said. Since then, the business has systematically moved more and more of its plants to indoor growing facilities.
The Pioneer Press has more about the deal with Buell's:
The purchase of the Buell's property and greenhouses "just fell into our lap," Gerten said Thursday, Feb. 7. A local real estate agent called to say Buell's was ready to sell; Gertens needed more land for growing.
Buying cropland for growing would have been much harder, Gerten said.
"What we like about the Buell's location is that it's perfectly suited for what we want to do -- we want to grow plants, and they already have tables and greenhouses and a nursery area that is ready to go. For us, it's really a turnkey operation. ... It was good timing for them, too."
Greg Buell, owner of Buell's, said he has moved his landscape and design business to Bayport.
"We will be continuing to focus on what we do best: landscape design and installation," Buell said.