What better time than May to bring you Genrich's Garden Center, Florist & Greenhouses as our newest Featured Business! Owner Deborah Genrich didn't set out to own this fabulous garden center but lucky for us she met a man who would bring her to Irondequoit and change her course.
Deborah Genrich was a St. John Fisher graduate planning to go in to interior design when she met her future husband, Ralph and fell in love with his two beautiful daughters.
"(I) discovered my passion for interior design translated perfectly into his thriving family business", Deborah tells us. "It didn’t take much persuasion on his part for me to accept a marriage proposal and a major life shift".
In 1960 Ralph’s parents, Ralph Jr. & Mary Ellen, established Genrich’s Garden Center, Florist, Gift & Greenhouses as a small garden center that evolved over the next twenty years with the addition of landscaping services and the floral design shop. Ralph was a graduate of Irondequoit High School, he attended college in DuPage Horticultural School in West Chicago pursuing a degree in greenhouse production and management. When he returned to Irondequoit in 1983, he began to build greenhouses on the three acres of land the garden center is situated on and currently the greenhouse range is in excess of 42,000 square feet. In 1998 Deborah married Ralph and found herself building a new kind of family business.
One of their first projects as owners was transforming the gift shop by adding more product lines to create more of a destination experience. They began to modernize the POS systems and reconfigure layouts while maintaining their superb customer service and product quality. Then in 2012 one of their daughters, Heather, graduated from Ohio State’s Agricultural & Technical Institute and returned to Rochester to join the family business. When their second daughter, Stephanie, went to college to follow in those footsteps the family embarked on a large scale remodeling project of the garden center, updating aging infrastructure and investing in new equipment looking towards a future with the third generation coming on board. Heather was recognized nationally in a 40 under 40 group as well as the youngest finalist ever for a national Young Grower Award in 2015 and Stephanie was one of three national finalists for the Green Profit Young Retailer Award in 2017.
The Genriches were thrown a curve ball when in February of 2014 Ralph suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away. Deborah and the girls stuck together determined to persevere. With the influence of a female third Genrich generation, they shifted to a more “boutique” vibe in the garden center. Their specialties include a wide variety of indoor specialty houseplants and new varieties of annuals and perennials. In 2019 they transformed the back of the greenhouse in to a wedding venue for Heather's wedding and this past winter, Stephanie and Deborah embarked on a redesign and renovation of the gift shop to better fit the space with current trends in home décor, gifts and houseplants.
Unlike many other garden centers, Genrich's is open all 12 month of the year. Their amazing staff varies with the seasonality of business, ranging in size from 8 – 20, and 90% of Genrich's employees are either Irondequoit natives or current Irondequoit residents.
The Genrich's are known throughout the Irondequoit community. For 30+ years the Genrich's hosted West Irondequoit kindergarten classes for field trips through the greenhouse. COVID kept the kids from coming last year, although the school district partnered with Genrich's and produced an amazing abbreviated virtual tour that’s on You Tube. They also support school fundraisers, youth sports, the Irondequoit Community Cupboard and Sunset House.
"The girls and I will forever be grateful for the incredible support shown to us by the awesome community we are rooted in" says Deborah.