Bergen’s building blossoms; Project sends appeal ‘through the roof’
“This is going to be the best spring ever,” said Bergen’s Retail-Wholesale Coordinator Deb Ziegler, as she buzzed around the greenhouse in preparation for the first big weekend of the season.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and this year the locally owned flower shop and greenhouse on West Willow Street has a lot to show off.
“I think when people walk in they’re going to be saying, ‘Wow, it looks like a whole new setup,’” said owner Chris Bergen.
Last summer, plants in the center section of the greenhouse were kicked outside while the entire front section of the store was gutted.
“I mean from floor to ceiling, side to side… just gutted,” said Ziegler, adding that the entire draining system below the floor was redone, as was the electrical and walls.
In-floor heating was installed and a two-foot drop from front to back constructed for ideal drainage.
But it’s the ceiling in that front section of the store that is probably the most noticeable change.
Its airy effects are what greet customers at the front door.
“We launched it way in the air so we’ve got a whole lot better air circulation,” said Bergen. “We have a five-foot vent on top and big side vents so it gives a lot better shopping experience.
A high-tech, retractable glass roof was installed, and raised from roughly nine feet to an average 16 feet with a 21-foot peak at the top.
The front section, which sits at approximately 10,000 square feet, has been on Bergen’s project list for a couple of years now.
“And so we finally decided… let’s just do it,” he said, adding that the big project ended up being about a half a million dollars.
It won’t end there, though.
Bergen says within the next couple of years he intends to remodel the whole front of the building as well.
“We’re working with some architects, so I think we’ll come up with something good,” he said, zipping up and down the 12 acres of colorfully lined greenhouse plants.
Bergen, who also has two other similarly-sized facilities in Park Rapids and Minneapolis, says there is always a project in the works when it comes to the greenhouse business.
“This is our original site — my great-grandparents started here in this facility as a big market garden in the 1920s,” said Bergen. “This is 85 years old and has been torn down and rebuilt three or four times since then.”
Although the side sections of the massive greenhouse remained untouched during this project, Bergen says the storefront area is where most customers browse.
“And we’ll see our first real big traffic of the year this coming weekend, so I think it’ll be well received,” said Bergen.
“We’re anxious to see our good lake friends again.”
Bergen’s Greenhouse is now operating under its summer hours and is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.