Gracia’s Greenhouse – A 3 Generation Family Business

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Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, my dad makes a journey to a farm/greenhouse in Belleville.  He comes back with wreaths, and 50 or so feet of beautiful roping made of cedar and pine.  He always goes by himself.  He prides himself on finding hard-working people who produce excellent products or services that might not be well-known to the general public. This year, I asked him if I could join him in the venture, as we needed some extra greens for the office. It was a cold, yet clear day – the perfect “Black Friday” for some greens shopping!

I let my dad navigate by memory rather than programming my GPS, as I would normally do to get to somewhere in an area I am unfamiliar with.  He pointed out landmarks to help me remember where to go in the future (though I’m not really planning to go without him).  It was a windy path we took through small towns that I’d never before seen, although it only took about 20 minutes from Plymouth.

We found a driveway down which there were several greenhouses and warehouse buildings behind a house.  There wasn’t a sign anywhere that I saw.  I understand from my dad that they do a lot of business at the Royal Oak and Ann Arbor Farmer’s Markets. We saw a few trucks with shelves of wreaths, swags, greens and hanging kissing balls.  We entered a warehouse with more of the same.  Everything smelled delightful of cedar & pine, some of my favorite winter fragrances.

Bessie, who had most of my dad’s greens already to go, greeted us.  She is the second-generation owner.  Now even her son is involved in the business while he attends college, as well.  We then entered a second greenhouse where about 5 more women were assembling wreaths.  There were two family dogs – a black and a yellow lab that were happy to get some more attention from us.  Dolores, the original founder of the business, greeted us and posed for a few photos.  She told us how the business started.  When she was pregnant with Bessie, her oldest child, she had just gotten married.  As Christmas approached, she wanted to buy her husband a Christmas present with her own money but she had none, so she started the company – selling greens to farmer’s markets.  And she was able to buy him a gift!