Schaefer Greenhouses In The News
December 10, 2015 Aurora Beacon-News
Holiday season a busy time for Montgomery poinsettia grower
Poinsettias are a staple at Schaefer Greenhouse in Montgomery during the holiday season. (Linda Girardi / The Beacon-News) Linda Girardi Aurora Beacon-News Poinsettias in spotlight during Christmas season
When Mike Schaefer says the greenhouses are a sea of red and green this time of year, he isn’t exaggerating.
Schaefer Greenhouses in Montgomery, a family-owned and operated business, has been growing poinsettias for retail customers since the 1920s. During the holiday season, Schaefer’s life gets even busier.
“We are pushing 40,000 poinsettia plants in all different cultivars and sizes,” Schaefer said.
The tropical plant that originates from Mexico became popular at Christmas decades ago because of its bright red color.
“When people come in and see that many poinsettias it literally takes their breath away,” he said.
Dec. 12 is National Poinsettia Day, designated by Congress in 2002 to mark the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American botanist and physician who was enamored by the brilliant red plant while in southern Mexico.
He brought the cuttings to America in 1828, first to his home in South Carolina where he propagated them and gave them away to friends and botanical gardens.
Schaefer Greenhouses, located at Aucutt Road and South Lake Street, grows more than 60 varieties of poinsettia plants in more than 20 different colors, from the traditional red to burgundy, white, peach and speckled ones.
He said roughly 80 percent of the plants are red.
“It’s red as far as the eye can see,” he said.
Schaefer, a third-generation owner, explained they begin to cultivate the plants in May as cuttings in a tropical 70 degree climate with a specialized recycled watering system.
“We grow them all summer. They are flourishing now,” he said. “There is a science involved in getting them to look as good as they do.”
Schaefer said the original greenhouse was located where Holy Angels Church in Aurora is now located.
Schaefer said growers continuously develop new types of poinsettias.
“We currently have a number of trial plants. If they are well received you’ll probably see them on the market next year,” he said.
Tim Pollak, outdoor floriculturist of the Chicago Botanic Garden, said Poinsett served as the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico under President James Madison.
“Poinsett stumbled along the plant growing along the roadsides and was fascinated with them,” Pollak said.
Pollak said the Aztecs used the plant for decorative purposes and to cure fevers or extract a purplish dye for use in textiles.
Linda Girardi is a freelance writer for The Beacon-News
Copyright © 2015, Aurora Beacon-News
April 02, 2013
Business Bonding: Schaefer Greenhouses a Montgomery Business that Blooms Year-Round
Posted on: April 2, 2013
Business Bonding: Schaefer Greenhouses a Montgomery Business that Blooms Year-Round
Although it was barely 50 degrees on March 27, plant specialists were wearing t-shirts while tending to the lush plant life in the balmy 69 degree controlled climate of Schaefer Greenhouses in Montgomery.
Schaefer’s grows tropical indoor foliage, blooming plants, vegetables, premium annuals and hardy perennials all year to serve Montgomery, Aurora, Yorkville, Oswego and other surrounding towns. Schaefer’s is a family-owned business that has been in Montgomery since 1926.
Montgomery staff members visited Schaefer’s in March as part of the Village’s Business Boost business retention program. Manager Mary Ann Kutnick and Brett Schaefer, who has been in the plant business for 30 years, gave Planner Jerad Chipman and Assistant Village Administrator Jamie Ludovic a tour of Schaefer’s property.
“We are so proud to be a part of the Village of Montgomery,” said Kutnick. “This is a great place to be.”
Although some people mistake Schaefer’s for a wholesale vendor that only serves other businesses, Kutnick said she wants potential customers to know Schaefer’s is also a retailer open to the public.
“We serve customer needs of all sizes,” said Kutnick, who has been with the company for 45 years. “Whether you need a floral arrangement, a gift or flowers to fill an entire garden, Schaefer’s will be able to help.”
Schaefer’s greenhouses occupy 200,000 square feet of greenhouse space at the corner of Lake Street and Aucutt Road near the Village’s downtown. Some greenhouses used by Schaefer’s today were built as early as the 1940s – newer houses were built in 1997.
Today, third and fourth generation Schaefers continue to manage the business. Schaefer’s also maintains a full-service website for ordering arrangements, plants and gifts for all occasions; and can be found on Facebook.
For more information, call 630-896-1936 or visit Schaefer’s online at schaefergreenhouses.com.
From the 10/29/2009 Edition of the Aurora Beacon, “Greenhouse family member grows to 100”
October 29, 2009
By LINDA GIRARDI For The Beacon-News
As a young boy, Eric P. Schaefer remembers growing up in the Holy Angels neighborhood of Aurora and walking the two to three miles to get to St. Paul grade school on the East Side. He considers the advent of the airplane the best invention of his lifetime.
“When I was a kid, we would look to the sky to see an airplane,” he said. Eric Schaefer, a member of the family that started Schaefer Greenhouses, will turn 100 next month. Schaefer turns 100 on Nov. 17.
“It’s just another birthday,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer recalled as a father with two sons selling the family baby grand piano in the late 1940s to buy a 7-inch television set. One of his favorite pastimes was bowling. He was the first inductee into the Aurora Bowling Hall of Fame.
To honor his birthday, Schaefer Greenhouse in Montgomery is inviting customers to join them Nov. 7 for birthday cake, in-store specials and a free drawing for a $100 Schaefer gift card. Customers can send him birthday wishes by stopping in and signing a birthday card.
Schaefer’s father, Frank C. Schaefer, founded the family-owned business in 1927 after working for an Aurora judge who liked to grow orchids as a hobby. Schaefer said he began working for his father’s business after graduating from West Aurora High.
“You always want to do what you do better,” he said.
Just as his dad, Schaefer passed his “work hard” ethic on to his two sons, John E. and Jim P. Schaefer.
“He taught us what hard work is,” John Schaefer said. “We were always learning. Now, we’re giving advice to the next generation,” he said.
The sons said their dad always hosted memorable Christmas Eve parties. “The family was growing up and there were more and more kids packing the house. A few times my dad thought there wasn’t enough room in the house — we made room,” Jim Schaefer said.
The elder Schaefer, who stops in the greenhouse a couple times a week to walk for his exercise, ran the greenhouse business with his two brothers, Frank W. and Ed, until the 1970s.
“He has a wonderful sense of humor,” said Cindy Ray, who has worked for the Schaefer family for 30 years. She is the gift shop buyer and does all of the gift shop displays, including decorating the festively themed Christmas trees.
Today, a fourth generation is involved in the success of operating the 200,000 square feet of greenhouse and retail space. Schaefer Greenhouse is known for quality perennials, annuals, floral arrangements and gift shop. For the holidays, people from around the area come to see the 60,000 poinsettia plants in the greenhouse.
“It’s important to like what you are doing (for work),” the elder Schaefer said. “If you don’t like it, quit and do something you do like.”
From the 2/17/2008 Edition of the Aurora Beacon “Think blooms as the wind blows”
February 17, 2008
Considering the groundhog saw his shadow this year and scampered quickly back into his hole, here is a word of encouragement to any of you who might be getting tired of winter.
In the midst of snow drifts, pelting sleet and wind chill factors, I found a lovely oasis that brought a smile to my face and a song to my heart. As I was driving north on Lake Street, I noticed a sign at Schaefer’s Greenhouses that carried the magic I was looking for.
“Fresh orchids just arrived.”
Surrounded by cold and gray, visions of warm and colorful, not to mention fragrant, drew me inside.
Located just south of Aurora, Schaefer’s has been cultivating premium plants for four generations. Family owned, the majority of their plants are grown on site in their own greenhouses, and their expert staff can advise you on any aspect of indoor and outdoor plant cultivation. Whether it’s a floral bouquet for a special occasion or planting bushes in your new yard, Schaefer’s experts can help.
But it really hadn’t occurred to me that by merely walking through the doors, I’d experience a veritable paradise of floral splendor. First, I was greeted by a gorgeous environment that spoke of beauty and balance. Enveloped by the sweet vapors of the greenhouse humidity, I followed the sounds of rippling water to discover a soothing area of fountains and waterfalls, all the while feeling as though I were floating through a terrarium. I admired the begonias, the chrysanthemums and the cyclamen.
And then I discovered the orchids. Delicately blooming on their curved stems, the whites, lavenders and gold hues were mesmerizing.
Suddenly I was a little girl again, dazed by the breathtaking beauty of my grandmother’s garden, and the endless summer vacations of picking flowers still wet with the morning’s dew. As I wandered among these thriving blossoms at Schaefer’s, words eluded me.
Beyond the vibrant plants in bloom, I could see rows and rows of “plants-in-process”… and realized the geraniums we will all be planting in our yards this June are already being cultivated at Schaefer’s, tenderly protected from February’s arctic chill. The tiny plants are already a few inches tall; their unfurling green-velvety leaves easily identifiable.
Back inside the main shop, there were candles, fine wines and chocolates for every occasion; really, what more does any person need?
Though experts might caution us against shopping when depressed, I always find that flowers do, in fact, cheer me up if I am a little low. The motto “Flowers before bread” invites us to feed the spirit as well as the body, and if you are suffering from cabin fever, perhaps a spray of roses inside your cabin is just what you need.
While there is a quiet beauty about a barren branch laden with snow, I am more awed by the fact that even now there are buds upon those branches. And it is the leaves and blossoms that I so deeply desire. The lush beauty at Schaefer’s was a rich reminder of what is coming soon.
I may not be able to board a cruise ship and head for the sunny islands of Hawaii at this time, but I can revel in the magnificence of orchids, right here in Aurora… and so can you. Stop in and visit Schaefer’s, and feast your eyes. And if you can’t venture outside just yet, you can stroll through the beauty online by visiting their Web site at www.schaefergreenhouses.com