It was a great discussion about our vision of Natural Plus Nursery: what we see the nursery becoming, what we think it can be, and most importantly, how we're going to get there. Its going to take some time and money, but I think its possible.
In August (6 months ago!!) I wrote about the "possibilities" of Natural Plus Nursery.
Here's an update on our dreams:
*start up a small greenhouse: we went to an auction this winter, and realized we weren't quite ready to have a greenhouse, but it is definitely something we want to keep in mind for the future.
*have annuals and flowers in the spring: we haven't ordered any annuals yet, but we do have tentative plans where we might display them. I foresee this year being an experimental year with the annuals. I do have something in the works to have herbs and possibly some starter vegetables for sale. I am focusing on edible landscaping around our home, so I can share my experiences with our customers.
*an apple orchard: this is a dream i do not foresee happening, a good thought, but probably too much work.
*aesthetically: pick up the place, organize, make signs for the customers: this was the dream that was brought up a lot today. this is going to be key for expansion. we want to pick the place up. make it a great, calming experience to come out here. the words that seemed to keep coming up were: ease, "green", and accessibility (which brings me to the next bullet point….)
*a parking lot: I don't know how much we will be able to do with this the first year, but hopefully we will be able to designate parking areas and make it a little more clear for everyone.
*a gate at the end of the drive and a sign for the hours: not sure if this will happen this year or not…
*get honey bees for honey: this is in the 5-10 year plan
*sell local goods (honey, crafts): we haven't made any deals with any local businesses, as we aren't sure how the "retail" side of the nursery will pan out and if it will be enough to sustain us, so we are making the networking connections, but aren't pursuing deals just yet.
*sell wood working Dave does in the winter pallet wine bottle/glass holders, bird houses, etc): this is the plan for next winter…this winter, we are too busy with home renovations!
*Computers to ring up the customers (and maybe iPads?!?): we have looked into this, and a system we saw at the nursery convention was way too expensive for our little nursery…but we are looking into getting the square to use as a POS system. still need to make some decisions on this one...
*a new building for employees (break room, bath room) and a room in that building to hold classes on canning, planting, wreath making, etc: while the "new building" is definitely NOT going to happen this year, I do have some plans in the works for holding educational seminars at the nursery (hopefully outside among the trees and plants). i have also been in contact with healthy harvest of north iowa; there may be some educational opportunities with that group as well.
*a place to hold outdoor gatherings, possibly wedding receptions: this is in the 5-10 year plan
I also have dreams to connect with local businesses and get information out to local people about keeping things local. Buy your food (veggies and meat) from the farmers markets or local farms: I have been purchasing meat from Sugar Creek Farm, and we are eating out of our freezer and storage (squash, tomatoes, corn). I have been in contact with healthy harvest of north iowa and Jan Libbey and hope there may be something that comes from that connection.
Some new ideas:
*a "learning center" for kids (when families come out and the kids need something to do)--we really want to make the "family" experience at the nursery a good one
*along with the above idea: perhaps a playground for the kiddos
*a chicken coop
Lots of stuff happening over here at Natural Plus. Now only if the ground will thaw!