Located in Inver Grove Heights for over 100 years, Gertens is more than just a local business: it’s a part of the community. Gertens is in its third generation of family ownership, and the fourth generation of the family is also involved.
“Our passion is basically to provide our retail and wholesale customers with plants and awesome pricing,” says Cindy Wellman, who wears many hats at Gertens, including trainer, event coordinator, and recruiter. “We grow almost everything we sell—only a handful of garden centers in the country can say that. It takes the middleman out.”
Gertens’ stock of plants is encyclopedic, from vegetables and flowers to trees and shrubs. There are evergreens, tropical plants, and even a small supply of water garden plants. They also manufacture and source their own bird seed, grass seed, and mulches. “We have everything you need to make the yard oasis you’re looking for,” says Wellman, including outdoor furniture and grilling equipment.
While Gertens is open year round, they’ve been especially busy this spring and summer. Wellman says that Minnesota’s stay-at-home order and social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have inspired more people to improve their outdoor spaces.
“People have taken a real liking to plants,” she explains. “They’re spending more time at home in their yards and gardens, so lots of people are doing mulching and planting. People are embracing green things, teaching their kids about it, and getting more hands on.”
For those with limited outdoor space, Wellman notes that Gertens also carries a wide selection of houseplants, including cacti and succulents. “We have everything you need for gardening indoors or out.”
Gertens has always been focused on customer service, from home delivery to loading people’s cars to staffing the store with knowledgeable, friendly employees. “We strive to provide a great experience with our customer service—that’s our backbone.”
They’ve also taken steps to ensure the safety of customers and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, including offering curbside pickup, reserving shopping hours for senior and at-risk customers, adding more outdoor registers to space out customers, and wiping down carts. “We’ve implemented lots of safety precautions so people can feel comfortable,” Wellman says, whether customers want a traditional in-store retail experience, curbside pickup, or home delivery.
Over the past few months, Wellman has noticed that the slower pace of life during the pandemic has encouraged many first-time customers to give gardening a try. “We’re excited to help them have fun in their life at this point and destress with green therapy,” she says.
“It’s very gratifying to watch people grow and learn, and to watch people discover gardening who may never have before. People who have never done gardening in the past are learning from nature and people like us. We can fix them up with the products that they need to be successful.”
5500 Blaine Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076