Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chapter 105 The Greenhouse Effect

In 1974 we had a big downturn in the economy; the stock market, the cattle market and the land business all took a hit. Charlotte had her greenhouse full of beautiful plants. A friend of mine who was in the wholesale greenhouse business came out for a visit one day and could not believe how beautiful her plants were. He asked if he could buy some. I asked what price the different plants would bring and told him I would talk to Charlotte and let him know. I started figuring costs and it looked like we could make a pretty good profit.

Charlotte, ever the one to help in any way she could, agreed. I called George the next day and told him we had a deal. We hired a lady, Maurice, from down the road to help us fill orders and work in the greenhouse and she was a real hard worker. Every time George picked up plants Charlotte and Maurice would pot up more a fill the empty space created by the sold plants.

Cartoons from Neil...pretty accurate!
Due to our rapid growth, we decided to build another greenhouse. I had been reading and studying the plant business to try to get educated. Wanting to know more, I had contacted our dear friend Neil Sperry, who was the horticulture expert with Renner Research, a part of the Texas A & M System. I had sold him his farm east of McKinney and also sold him a building in McKinney where he published his magazine. He provided me with even more information. We visited many greenhouse operations around Dallas and in East Texas. We took what we learned and built a second house, this one 30 X 90’ Charlotte and Maurice got busy and filled it up with plants. We called our new business “The Country Greenhouse”.

Neil and Lynn Sperry knew us well, especially the way that Charlotte always supported me in every endeavor we ever undertook; some wild, some crazy and a few that seemed impossible. From the Telephone company, to equipment rental business, to apartment houses, to Mini warehouses, to rent houses, to buying land, to the cattle business, to farming, to a woodworking cabinet shop, to greenhouses, to building Early Texas Homes, to building log homes, to building our own homes, to land sales, to Century 21 franchise, to marketing high end subdivisions. She always hung in there somehow and worked shoulder to shoulder with me on every project.

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