Groovy Plants Ranch Announces Expansion Plans
Groovy Plants Ranch recently announced the purchase of 11 additional acres, allowing it to multiply its plant offerings and host more events including plant workshops, a Succulent Solstice festival, its first crafts fair and plenty of weekend food trucks.
“When we first opened our doors seven years ago, we dreamed of becoming a destination plant store, and thanks to the overwhelming support of the community we’ve blown away our expectations,” says Jared Hughes, who together with his wife Liz co-own the one-of-a-kind plant store known for its unusual plants and ‘70s Western vibe.
Now in its 15th year, the business has rapidly grown with the massive new interest in houseplants and gardening fueled by the pandemic and social media. According to industry reports, houseplant and garden sales showed double-digit increases during the past two years.
“During the pandemic, Americans turned to houseplants and gardening like never before, and luckily we were ready for the demand,” says Jared, explaining they had just expanded their online store in 2019 and added three greenhouses the year prior. Today, Groovy Plants Ranch carries thousands of rare and unusual houseplants as well as an extensive mix of unique garden plants and ships them to all 50 states.
Besides the online business, Groovy Plants’ retail store has become a mecca for a new generation of plant fans. Last month, the store was named “Best Midwest Garden Shop” in Midwest Living’s 2022 Best of Awards. Jared attributes the store’s loyal following to its unique plant offering, entertaining shopping experience and engaging social media. He says in 2022 they will expand their plant offerings to include a wider selection of perennials and flowering shrubs. They’ve added a Potting Saloon stocked with thousands of containers and outfitted with a potting bench complete with free potting soil for customers to pot up plant purchases. The property’s 150-year-old schoolhouse – now a gift shop – is filled with plant-themed cards, gifts and gardening tools.
The Hughes also are converting a storage barn into an event space to host plant workshops and private parties. Through social media and a robust website, they find more fun ways to teach consumers as Jared shares how to grow giant hardy banana trees on TikTok. And, Liz gives YouTube lessons on caring for plants and creates in-store displays with QR codes linking customers to plant info and videos.
Finally, they continue to amp up the store’s ‘70s Western vibe with a giant pollinator mural, a succulent-filled VW Beetle and more Western décor in the new education center. In addition to the art and décor, one of Jared’s passions, not surprising, is gardening. He plans to continue to install expansive display gardens throughout the property.
In 2009 at age 19, Jared founded Groovy Ranch Plants “with nothing more than a few cuttings of succulents.” He built his business while gaining his associate degree in landscape design and architecture from Columbus State Community College and worked at Foertmeyer and Sons in Delaware where he served as retail manager for five years. He discovered succulents’ appeal when he purchased a nursery rack and promptly cut the plants into hundreds of little pieces and replanted them. He took the finished succulents to a farmer’s market and was encouraged by customers’ interest in his “groovy” succulents.
In 2012, Jared met Liz who was working as an art teacher and textile artists with work featured in international shows. As the two married, Liz transferred her creative and teaching talents to the horticulture world. In 2016, the couple opened their current retail store and nursery with the purchase of three acres at the former Fargo Herbs farm, its seven greenhouses and old schoolhouse. Today, they live at the ranch with daughters Lili and Trillium and dogs Phloxy and Brisco.