As growing season ‘springs’ upon us, we speak to local businesses gearing up for the season

Local News

Spring is just a day away, which means local greenhouses and garden centers are in full gear. 

Kristen Nielsen visited some of Erie’s favorite shops to see what’s ‘growing’ on. 

For some people in the local gardening industry, this work is in their blood. When Nielsen asked the Vice President of Stan’s Garden Center, Josh Skarzenski, how long he’s worked there, his response was simply, “I was born here”. 

Janel Potratz, Co-Owner of Potratz, tells us she’s been there for “…50 years probably.”

Both Skarzenski and Potratz are part of the third generation running their family’s growing operations.

Skarzenski tells us, “Stan’s was started with my grandfather just a few miles from here in the Brookside area on Saltsman and Cumberland Road in 1954.  He planted a small field of mums behind his house and it literally grew from there.”

Potratz says, “Actually, this is our 100th year. The greenhouses were started in 1919 by my grandfather who came over from Germany. And then, my parents started the floral shop in the 1940’s.”

As spring approaches, both shops are in full gear preparing for the busiest part of the year for them.

Potratz says, “Everybody’s excited.  They want to start planting the papers and tomatoes, those are starting.  We’re also starting our hanging baskets.”

Skarzenski says, “99% of everything we sell out the front door is grown here.  So, we’re very, very busy.  The next six weeks are extremely busy.” He also tells us that Stan’s has the biggest growing operation from Niagara Falls to Cleveland.

And, although they share the same turf, the families behind these two homegrown businesses don’t see each other as competition.

Potratz says, “The floral and the greenhouse industry is maybe a little different than some of the other industries.  We are all friends and talk and know what’s growing and if they are in need of something or if we’re in need of something, we help each other out.”

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