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Growing a Greenhouse into a Family Business
Brenda Conn spends her days working in the soil regardless of the weather outside.
"It's just like being outside," Brenda said. "When you come in here in February and the sun is shining and you're working in the greenhouse and it's 90 or 95 degree in here, it's 20 degrees or less outside, it's really nice."
Typically by now, she'd be starting to take more plants outside.
"It's a completely different spring than last year," Brenda said. "Last year in March it was in the 80s, half the days in March. And this year it's cooler, and so people aren't in such a big rush to get their garden started."
These days she and her crew are working on transplanting, a common job here because of how Triple Creek Farm Greenhouse operates.
"We're growing them all ourselves from seeds or cuttings," Brenda said. "And hopefully we can provide a better quality plant for our customers, and they have better luck once they take the plants home and get them planted in their garden."
She started the business with her husband, Bob, as a way to make a little extra money.
"She wanted to be home with the children so she wouldn't have to take them to the babysitter, or cart them off to somebody else to take care of," Bob said. "So we started the greenhouse, and she was able to stay home with the kids and have the business both."
Now, 25 years later, the kids are grown and mom and dad are raising more plants than ever.
"I thought it would be a full-time gig," Brenda said. "I didn't realize we'd have seven greenhouses and be selling plants in two locations. It's kind of turned in to more than a full-time gig."
The home location north of Virginia is open, as well as the store in Petersburg, as they wait for the rush to hit.
"Once it gets dry enough and warm enough that people can plant, typically around the 15th or 20th of April, then it's just kind of like turning on a light," Brenda said. "And everybody's just ready to get it all done at one time."
There's one time of the year that everyone here seems to look forward to.
"Oh, in the spring when we're busy," employee Connie Mahoney said. "Because you're giving people--because you know they're going to take something home and it's going to be beautiful."
These workers appear to love their job during every season.
"It's therapy," Connie said. "It's rewarding to put a little seed in the ground, or a little plant, and you come back a week later and it's grown 2 or 3 inches, and it's just fun."
And the owners seem to be fans of the business as well.
"I like it that I'm my own boss," Brenda said. "That I get to be outside every day, and enjoy the sunshine. It's really a lot of fun."
Reporting in Cass County, Mike Brooks, ABC NewsChannel 20.