Local greenhouse waiting for winter to break

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – While cold, ice and snow have had your attention this winter, there is one business in Indiana that is already geared up for spring, and has been for awhile.

Pretty flowers, beautiful greenery and water were hitting the soil inside the south side Indianapolis home of  Schlegel “Hoosier Boy” Greenhouse.  Beyond the beauty,  it is a business.  And this is the start of the make or break time of year.

“You know we have to have spring.  It’s the most important thing within our industry,” says Paul Schlegel. 

The family-owned business sells plants and flowers to locally-owned independent garden centers and hardware stores. 

“It’s been a tough challenging year,” he says.

Challenging, because no matter what winter throws at Indiana, the family’s cash crop has to stay warm and well-cared for inside the greenhouses.

Of course, there’s a cost to all of this.  The sun alone is not enough to keep all the plants warm and ready for your spring.  Instead, they use furnaces, 50 of them.  And those gas furnaces are still running in March.

Schlegel says that means the cost of keeping the flowers from freezing goes up. 

“Our prices are set.  So we will not pass along the costs.  We’re just going to have to be more efficient in other ways.,” Schlegel says.

But the lingering winter makes that tough.  And no one knows yet what spring will bring.

“Our business is totally based on weather. If it’s a cold spring or it’s rainy or it’s stormy, it has a great bearing on our business,” Schlegel says.

But don’t think Paul Schlegel is pessimistic – he’s not.  He says once the weather breaks, he’s convinced you will want to work in your garden and buy those plants and flowers.  He expects to sell 95 percent of what he’s growing.  Unless, of course, spring is as bad as this winter.

By the way, spring actually begins a day early this year.  The vernal equinox is Thursday, March 20 , at 12:57 p.m.

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