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PLNA Partner Members

In Fall 2016, PLNA introduced membership upgrade packages for all members. One of the benefits of the upgrades for Growers, Manufacturers and Ancillary Services is highlighting their company profile on the PLNA website.

 

Snowfighters Institute, Erie, PA

Date Company Began:  2010

Website:  www.snowfightersinstitute.com

Key Employees:  John Allin (founder), Tammy Johnson (executive director), Jeremy Howe (marketing and design) and Debbie Sickles (admin)

 

Please tell us more about the history of your company.

The Snowfighters Institute was started in 2010 by the snow and ice industry leader, John Allin.  John has over 40 years of experience in the snow an dice managment industry and is recognized as the foremost snow and ice consultant in the country  He believed there was a lack of interactive opportunities for snow and ice professionals who wish to grow their companies.  Snowfighters Institute endeavors to further snow professional's knowledge base so as to make them more efficient and profitable.

Do you work with trade only or do you provide retail offerings to the consumer?

Snowfighters Institute works with contractors who service commercial clients with their service offering.

What are some of the more interesting or unique products/services that you provide?

We work with all sizes of snow contracting firms. From the two-truck operator (at our One-Day Seminars) to contractors doing millions in revenues with hundreds of snow clearing units. We have interactive events for owners, high level managers as well as back-end office operations and those working with field crews on job sites as small as a fast food restaurant to 500 acre facilities.

What are some important business values for Snowfighters Institute?

We promote honesty for snow contractors in their dealings with customers. Those who attend our events tend to move from being “plow jockeys” to “risk managers”. They come to understand that we are responsible for providing safe environments for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Being fair and honest with customers, providing outstanding service at a fair price in order to make a viable profit are the basis for allowing those in the snow contracting business to do the very best for customer.



Fairview Evergreen Nurseries, Fairview, PA

Date Company Began:  1911

Website:  www.fairviewevergreeen.com

Key Employees:  Hagan Hetz, CEO; Chris Hetz, VP Production; TC Phillips, VP Sales

 

Please tell us more about the history of your company.

Fairview Evergreen Nurseries was founded by Frank Carson Hetz. A house painter by trade, he had been working for fifteen years and making a reasonably good living for his young family. Unfortunately, his health seemed to be deteriorating, and finally a doctor told him that he should stop painting - that he was probably allergic to the lead in the paints he was using. He was 34 years old.

Being a farm boy by birth, Frank wondered if he could make a living back on the farm, so he started to pay close attention to the prices farm produce was bringing at the old Erie Central Market. At Christmas time in 1910, so the story goes, Frank took his daughter Mildred to shop for a Christmas tree. He was amazed at the prices they were bringing – 75 cents to a dollar for a good tree. When he counted the rings at the base of the cut tree, he saw that they were only 8 years old. A person with a few thousand of these a year to sell could do very well for himself. His dream was born – he would raise Christmas trees!

He needed land in the country, and he found it in Fairview, only a few miles north of where he had been born. He managed to secure a loan of $20,000, a tremendous sum at that time, and purchased 36 acres of land. Frank started planting trees and soon expanded on his original Christmas tree vision to become a viable retail operation for many years. But after World War I, there was a big housing boom that led him to begin growing evergreens for sale into the wholesale market.

Over the years, the Hetz family transferred ownership and operation of Fairview Evergreen Nurseries from one generation to the next. The family steadily acquired acreage over the years, increasing their total land holdings to around 3,500 acres at present, over 1,000 of which is in ornamental plant production at any given time. The grounds are rich with sandy, loamy soil perfect for growing taxus, boxwood, holly, juniper, arborvitae, viburnums, burning bush, hydrangea and a wide range of shade trees. They also farm 1,000 acres of property, planting corn, oats and wheat as part of the nursery’s crop rotation program.

The dream Frank C. Hetz started with more than 100 years ago remains alive and vibrant today. The current ownership and management group includes Frank’s grandchildren and great grandchildren, representing four generations in total. Fairview Evergreen Nurseries is proud of its heritage as a family business, and plans to continue its founder’s dream for many years to come.

Do you work with trade only or do you provide retail offerings to the consumer?

We are a wholesale grower of top quality ornamental plant material that supplies many of the finest landscapers, re-wholesalers, and garden centers in the green industry. Our market reach extends to Ontario and Quebec in the north, all along the Atlantic coast, south to Tennessee, west to Kansas and Nebraska. We even ship our bare root liners to Oregon and British Columbia.

What are some of the more interesting or unique products/services that you provide?

During the course of our more than 100 years of growing the finest ornamental nursery stock available in the green industry, we have proudly originated and introduced many new evergreen cultivars to the trade. We provided all of these plants to the trade openly, with no patent or royalty fees attached, nor restrictions placed upon others who wished to grow these varieties. We hoped these new plants would add beauty and diversity to the palette of landscape selections available to property holders wishing to enhance the aesthetic value of their homes and businesses. We believe our plant introductions have accomplished this goal for decades, and continue to do so today. Among our well-known and successful plants introductions are: Hetz Columnaris Juniper, Hetz Winter Green Arborvitae, Fairview Arborvitae, Hetz Midget Arborvitae, Fairview Yew, Sun-burst yew, Citation yew, Majestic Yew, Glauca Hetzi and Glauca Hetzi Staked Juniper, Hetz Japanese Holly, Northern Beauty Japanese Holly, and our most recent introduction, Nova yew. Introducing new plants is a tradition that dates to the very beginning of our history as a family nursery. We are always tinkering and trialing new selections that we believe hold promise for the green industry, and thanks to our long history of success in this area, we’re sometimes asked by other nurseries to test their introductions as well. New plants – they’re part of what makes this business so rewarding and so much fun!

What are some important business values for Fairview Evergreen?

We grow all of our plants and trees with the vision of our founder Frank C. Hetz at the heart of the process. He insisted that Fairview Evergreen grow only “A#1 Quality” plants for our customers, accomplished through uncompromised attention to the most important aspects of the growing process. We root-prune, trim, and fertilize extensively for consistent quality. We employ a thorough IPM program to produce pest-free plants. And we continue to rest and restore our ground between nursery crops by raising corn, oats, and wheat. We regard these practices as hallmarks of a sustainable growing program, and one that produces uniform, generously-graded plants that provide the value our customers have come to expect from our family-owned and operated nursery throughout our 105 years of business serving the green industry.

We also value the long-term relationships we have developed with our customers, built on the quality and consistency of our plant material AND our service. Many of our customers have been with us for decades, through good times and bad. When times are tough, we do not ‘fire sale’ our material. Our pricing remains consistent so that the value and integrity of the plants we grow are not compromised. We’d sooner till our unsold plants into the ground than sell them at a price that undervalues our nursery stock and the effort required to grow them. The latter option only hurts the green industry when it is practiced on a wide scale. We believe this core value resonates with our customers, who stick with us during down periods in the economy when they could source nursery stock cheaper from other growers. When times are good, our price increases are modest and our allocations always follow a protocol that strives to be as fair as possible.

Quality in our plants. Consistency in our service. These are the core values at the heart of Fairview Evergreen Nurseries.

 

Want to get your company highlighted on the PLNA website? Contact Tina Rife, Director of Membership at tmrife@PLNA.com or 717.238.1676.

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