Kalamazoo, Michigan was settled by Dutch farmers whose primary crop was celery. When California began to ship produce economically throughout the country, the Kalamazoo growers decided to switch to growing flowers. In 1967, the Kalamazoo Valley Plant Growers Cooperative was officially established. It now consists of over 50 individually owned greenhouse businesses and together is the country's largest supplier of bedding plants.
Wenke Greenhouses was started in 1942 by Chris and Ann Wenke. In 1975, their son Lorence Wenke purchased the business and later his brother Dennis joined him. They have since expanded to three locations including the original 3-acre facility in Kalamazoo, an 18-acre facility also in Kalamazoo and a 20-acre facility in Douglas, Georgia. Lorence Wenke is also 1/3 owner of Michigan Grower Products, which sells greenhouse growing media and prefilled containers.
The Finished Wholesale part of the business sells plants directly to independent garden centers, landscapers and the KVPG. Our primary spring products are bedding plant flats, hanging baskets, geraniums, perennials and specialty potted. Our primary fall and winter products are pansies, mums and poinsettias.
A very important part of our business is Young Plants. We sell plugs and liners through brokers to other greenhouse growers. We are a rooting station for Flower Fields, Goldfisch, Suntory, Simply Beautiful and A Cut Above. Our goal is "To Be the Preferred Supplier" in the Midwest and the Southeast.
Our retail is a small portion of our total sales but still very important to us for two reasons. First, our retail is what we are known for in Kalamazoo. Most people in Kalamazoo know of Wenke Retail but most do not know about our wholesale operations. Second, our retail experience helps us to know about what the end-user/gardener wants. If something sells well in our retail, we know that it will be a success for other retailers as well.
|Wenke In The Community|
|Retail Garden Center|