COVID helps greenhouse grow
Scott Zogelman nearly closed the doors of his greenhouse, Zogie’s on Main, years ago.
“Just not being on the main path, I didn’t get a lot of business,” he said. “And having a job made it hard to be here when customers came.”
Zogelman began to move operations to his home after he was hospitalized and had toes amputated.
Zogie’s benefited from COVID in an unexpected way, however.
“The big box stores didn’t even know if they would be able to keep their doors open, so they didn’t order organics,” Zogelman said. “But I had the plants here. I sold more plants in that season than I ever have.”
He stayed on Main St. as people took up gardening during the pandemic.
“My biggest advantage is people asking, ‘What’s this, and how do I keep it alive?’” he said. “Most of the plants I have, I’ve read up on and know where they like to grow.”
Zogelman buys his plants with the intention to sell all of them, unlike larger stores that sell only half their stock. He doesn’t need as large of a profit margin and can sell plants for less.
“People ask why I don’t quit watering them,” Zogelman said, looking at his rack of leftover spring plants. “But every other day, people come in saying ‘my such-and-such died and I need a replacement.’ That’s why I keep them alive.”
Zogelman rehabilitates plants from other greenhouses and propagates cuttings. He grows unique varieties from seed and manages water tanks of aquatic plants.
The greenhouse allows Zogelman to indulge his love of gardening and help his neighbors.
“I’ve always liked gardening,” he said. “I started out mainly with houseplants. I would rehabilitate plants, start more from cuttings, and then I started having a benefit sale for the Florence Pride Committee.”
He recently replaced the soil that had been in use for Main St.’s planters for 16 years and provided plants for new arrangements. He asked Florence residents to adopt the planters as a member of the Florence Pride Committee.
Zogie’s on Main is based out of a building that was a car dealership. It gives him a concrete lot for plants where cars used to drive through, but the roof is in shambles.
“The roof leaks badly and the business doesn’t pay to put the new roof on,” he said. “When it rains, it pulls the insulation in the heating tiles down and I can’t heat it.”
Zogelman works with neighboring businesses to keep his plants alive during colder months.
Flint Hills Market and Bakery took in 200 of his poinsettia plants this past winter.
“They didn’t have to decorate and it didn’t cost them anything to heat it,” Zogelman said. “It drew new customers to them and customers to me because of the flowers.”
Cottonwood Valley Bank brought two of his large palm varieties inside of their business. When the season changed, they had plants matching their sandstone storefront.
“The businesses that are here, we’ve had to work together,” Zogelman said.
Zogelman hopes to fix the roof of the building to create a full garden store. He is also collecting large glass panes to build a greenhouse within the building.
Last modified Aug. 11, 2021