Grobe’s Nursery and Garden Centre celebrates 57 years of serving customers in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph areas.
The local, family-owned business specializes in plants of all kinds; annual flowers, perennials, roses, trees, shrubs, landscape design, planning, and landscape construction services.
Grobe’s also has a large selection of edibles including herbs and vegetable plants plus over 50 varieties of gourmet tomatoes. The colourful gift shop offers unique garden and seasonal giftware items and a broad selection of garden décor.
“Our focus has always been on quality and on plants, but we offer many other products,” says Perry Grobe, who currently helps run the family business. “We are retail predominantly, not just wholesale which some might think. People are often quite surprised when they come in.”
And yes, one can’t help but walk in and be delightfully greeted by a spectacular array of colour – a treat for any avid gardener, or for someone just simply browsing for ideas. “Our customers come back because they know us and they know that we are all about quality. Many customers are long term and I’m content in knowing that they are satisfied and that’s why they keep coming back,” Grobe said.
“We are also seeing more and more customers coming from the GTA, from places like Mississauga, Vaughn and Richmond Hill.”
For Grobe, it’s like a second home. Today, he runs the family business along with his father Peter, his wife, and daughters who work part-time. “This has always been a part of my life, since I was a little boy,” Grobe said.
It all began in 1962, when George Grobe, a successful door-to-door nursery stock salesman, began a landscape maintenance business in Kitchener with his oldest son, Peter. They were soon joined by George’s other son Paul in 1964.
The garden centre opened in Breslau in 1966. The company continued to grow and in the early 1970’s, Peter observed the use of containerization and how it helped extend the selling and planting season. As a result, he implemented the containerizing of bare root plant material in the spring.
In 1989 and into the 90’s, the range of plants grew as well, along with the construction of a larger, modern annual flower greenhouse to help accommodate the increasing demand for hanging baskets and annual bedding plants.
The number of plant varieties today, now lists in the thousands.
In the mid-90’s, improved drip irrigation technology was implemented to reduce Grobe’s overall water use and to improve the ability to irrigate with customers present in the nursery.
In late 2001, Grobe’s started their Preferred Gardener Club, a loyalty club that offers members email advice, a look at new products and discounts on purchases
Grobe’s continues to re-use plastic containers returned to the garden centre. This has developed into a program that now diverts all the centre’s plastic waste to recycling.
In 2007, Paul Grobe retired, and he passed away in 2017.
A popular staple for Grobe’s Nurseries continues to be, Christmas Trees. In 1972, Peter and Paul began to sell fresh cut Christmas trees during the Christmas season at the garden centre. This evolved into “Grobe’s Christmas Tree Country” and every year, generations of families from all over the area, make the visit to purchase their individually graded, fresh cut trees in the indoor showroom.
“This is a huge part of our business,” Grobe says. “Some people only come once a year, but we aren’t just a one season wonder. We are an all year operation.”
Over the years, the family has grown, and the business continues to grow with it.
“I don’t do it just for the sake of tradition,” Grobe said. “I do it for what it is and I enjoy the people. It’s the customers. That’s why I do it.”