Smart business owners know an attractive storefront can bring more customers through their doors. Vibrant flowers, attractive shrubs and lush, green grass are all excellent ways to improve the exterior appearance of a business, ultimately equating to a healthier bottom line.
But that’s not simply a catchy anecdote; numerous studies have proven that greenery and flowers attract shoppers and residents to urban areas, stimulating interest and economic growth. And it doesn’t take a huge investment; even a small bit of greenery can make a big impact.
That’s why many of the region’s businesses turn to Mary Missinne, owner of Missinne Greenhouse & Landscape, located in South Range, Wis. to spruce up their storefronts. You may not know her by name, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen Missinne’s gardening and landscape work. She has completed numerous high-profile projects for the business world of the Twin Ports and beyond.
All of the flowers, landscaping and other greenery found at Canal Park Brewing Company are Missinne’s creations. Her company also removed an old, worn-down pathway at the brewery, replacing it with stone.
Other business clients include Shamrock Pizza in Superior, Duluth’s Hampton Inn, all branches of National Bank of Commerce, Canal Park Lodge, Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark, and Days Inn – Duluth Lakewalk. Missinne works with residential customers as well and estimates her client base is roughly half commercial and half residential. Some of Missinne’s employees, along with several clients, have been doing business with her for more than 20 years.
While most of her projects have been completed in the Twin Ports, she doesn’t limit her service territory. Missinne has completed projects as far away as North Dakota and has even transported her trucks and equipment via the Madeline Island ferry for a job.
She grows plant material and maintains an annual retail greenhouse during the month of April, opening other times by appointment only. But a large part of the business focuses on making client’s lives easier; at least when it comes to gardening and landscaping.
The business also does yard clean-up and maintenance, designs and installs landscapes, and returns on a recurring schedule to maintain your plants.
“People love landscaping, they love plants, but they just don’t have the time or expertise to grow it themselves,” she said. “One of our biggest trends is for people to come in and pick up a pre-done container or basket, all ready to go.”
The family business was opened by Mary Missinne’s parents, Frank and Elna Missinne in 1978. Mary Missinne has worked for the business since 1979. While the family resided in Superior, Frank owned the plot of land in South Range where the greenhouse is located today. Prior to opening a greenhouse, the family used the land to plant, grow, and sell Christmas trees.
In 2004, Mary Missinne and her sister, Lori Ritchie, along with their spouses, bought the business from their parents, who wanted to retire. In 2011, the other parties opted to leave the business and Missinne is now the sole owner.
Today, Missinne Greenhouse & Landscape employs 15 people, among them greenhouse staff, a landscape crew and a maintenance crew.
In addition to selling and maintaining plant material, the business designs and installs boulder walls, flagstone patios, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits and sod.
Missinne, who has a degree in horticulture, is a master gardener through the state of Wisconsin, and a certified professional through the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association.
Paul Kaz is President of Canal Park Brewing Company. The business has been working with Missinne for the past year, but Kaz shared that he’s had a relationship with the company, on behalf of some of his other business ventures, since the 1980s, dating back to Missinne’s father.
Missinne has worked closely with Kaz to implement some of Canal Park Brewing’s own unique and personal touches in the garden. “Some of our planters were hand-crafted out of wood by my brother, and some of them we made out of hollowed out kegs,” Kaz said. “Missinne provided us with colorful flower and vegetable options, featuring very unique colors. They bloom at different times of the year. The Missinne crew comes back every week to clean up the plants, and water. They also return to change out the plant materials for each of the four seasons, year-round.”
This year, Kaz said, some of the containers of plants found at Canal Park Brewing will feature Golden Nugget Hops – a natural choice for a brewery. “They’re very aromatic and also provide a little screening from the parking lot. And, it’s perfect to grow hops at a brewery,” he said. They will also be implementing a “green wall” of ivy on the south side of the building.
“It’s an added expense, but we feel we get a lot of value from it,” Kaz said. “It looks so much fresher, and we get so many positive comments and questions from customers.” In fact, Kaz fields so many questions about the on-site plants that he plans to start distributing Missinne’s business cards.
Plants and people
In addition to being her profession, plants are a social outlet for Missinne, who said many of her customers return year after year. “I love people and plants, but the relationships are what keep customers coming back,” she said.
Missinne Greenhouse & Landscape sells, or can order, just about every plant varietal imaginable. Missinne herself shared that, if pressed to pick, her favorites include pink Peonies and Hostas.
“They just make me happy,” she said. “They announce that spring is finally here.”
For more information, visit Missinne Greenhouse & Landscape on Facebook.