Old Mission Peninsula farmers Cory and Elise Holman have purchased Garden Goods, the beloved Traverse City garden center founded and owned by Julie and Gordy Sovereign for the past 26 years.
Elise said they closed on the deal about a week ago, and she and Cory are excited to jump in and learn the ropes of running the business.
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“There’s a lot more to it than most people realize, a lot of behind the scenes work,” she said. “It’s a big undertaking for the two of us, but we’re excited and we’re ready to do it. It feels good.”
Not only that, but “Cory gets to drive a tractor and I get to play in the dirt!” Spoken like a true OMPer.
Helping to greet customers and stand by for head-pats is their sweet dog, Koni. Now he’s not only the Pumpkin Patch dog (more on that later), but he’s also the Garden Goods dog.
The Sovereigns, also longtime residents of the Old Mission Peninsula, ran a hardware store in Mapleton before starting Garden Goods. When they began thinking about retiring, they were happy that the stars aligned to hand over the reins to another OMP family.
“We look forward to Elise and Cory’s ownership as they represent a new generation of plant enthusiasts,” said Julie. “They bring a wealth of gardening and plant experience, as well as unbridled enthusiasm.”
And she and Gordy are so grateful for the support and friendship of their customers over the years. “You have allowed us to build a business and raise our family in this wonderful community. We have been blessed with your patronage.”
Many of the staff who’ve been with Garden Goods will continue on with Elise and Cory at the helm, and Gordy and Julie will be around to help with the transition, as well.
“A lot of people really look forward to seeing them when they come in, so they’ll still be around, and we’re happy about that, as well,” said Elise.
And rest assured that Robin Smillie, “the face of Garden Goods,” will be there, too. Elise said that’s one of the main questions she’s been getting from customers about the transition. Will Robin still be there? The answer is yes!
While Elise and Cory have lots of ideas for the business, don’t look for big changes anytime soon. They will continue to have all the garden items you know and love, including garden art, décor, pottery, giftware, wind chimes, potting soil, birdfeeders and houseplants of all sizes.
And pretty soon – yes, Spring is coming – you’ll be able to stroll through their vast network of greenhouses and stock up on garden plants and flowers, including annuals, perennials, veggies, shrubs, trees, roses and so much more.
“For the immediate future, we want to keep it the way they’ve been running it, at least until we learn the ropes of the business,” said Elise. “But we definitely have notebooks full of ideas and things we’d like to do.”
Here are just a few of the items you can buy at Garden Goods. (I managed to restrain myself and only brought a few things home after I stopped by to take pictures today. Those gnomes and toads are calling me, though.)
You’re probably wondering whether Elise and Cory will continue to run their popular pumpkin patch on Center Road. No need to worry – the answer is yes.
Elise said she’ll also continue to have her garden and farmstand in Old Mission, too. Here’s a picture of the Holman’s pumpkin crew last fall.
As for Covid rules, masks are required at Garden Goods (they’re available at the counter if you don’t have one), and Cory and Elise will continue to encourage social distancing, as the Sovereigns have done all along.
“There’s a range of customers in different age groups who come in here, so it’s important that we have a really safe environment for everybody,” said Elise.
Elise has family on the OMP, and if you’ve been reading the Gazette for a while, you know that the Holman family dates back 160 years on the Old Mission Peninsula. You’ve no doubt heard the name Curtis Fowler in connection with the history of the Old Mission Peninsula, and Curtis Fowler, Sr. is Cory’s great-great-great-great grandfather. Cory’s grandparents are Jack and Georgia Holman, and his parents are Tim and Laurie (Loomis) Holman, who still farm the land once farmed by their ancestors.
Read more about the Holman’s long history on the Old Mission Peninsula here, and check out this picture of Alexander Holman’s peach tree nursery in 1906…
Stop in and say hi to Cory and Elise at Garden Goods, located at 3510 North US Highway 31 South in Traverse City, directly across from the Great Wolf Lodge. For more information, visit their website, follow them on Facebook, or call (231) 933-4769.