GROW

The Business of a Greenhouse

A look at the companies that provide the heating system, pond fish, skylights, and irrigation system for Marnie’s Pavilion in the Denver Botanic Gardens
Marnie's Pavilion, Denver Botanic Gardens | 03.22.11 9:35 A.M.
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Heating system
Many plants in Marnie's Pavilion are native to tropical locales. During frigid Denver winters, three 15-million-BTU boilers supplied and installed by Economy Air Conditioning & Heating in Englewood, Colorado, help maintain a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the greenhouse. Clyatt Philman founded Economy in 1982 and sold it to Bob Nyberg in 1991. Nyberg's son, Dennis, runs the 28-employee business, which has $4 million in annual sales and provides heating and air-conditioning systems to schools, churches, and industrial facilities in the Denver region.

Pond fish
This freshwater pond is home to five koi and three goldfish supplied by Enery Water Gardens near Arvada, Colorado. Diane Ross and Lisa Keller started the business in 2004. Now, their stock includes more than 150 species of water plants and 8,000 fish. The five-employee company sells fish, water plants, and pond supplies to landscapers, nurseries, and retail clients throughout Colorado.

Skylights
Plenty of water and lots of sunlight: What more could a plant ask for? These acrylic skylights, which were manufactured by AIA Industries in Denver, are sloped to let in a maximum amount of sunlight. President Jim Donaldson founded AIA Industries in 1977. His 45-employee company, which has $8 million in annual sales, provides skylights to stores, airports, and museums around the country, including the New York City Fire Museum.

Irrigation system
The Denver Botanic Gardens boasts more than 33,000 plants, including the ferns, orchids, and bromeliads being misted here. In 2009, Rain Bird, a company in Azusa, California, installed an irrigation system that waters the plants. The system's central controls manage more than 10,000 sprinkler heads located throughout the gardens. Clem and Mary LaFetra founded Rain Bird in 1935. Their son, Anthony, runs the company, which has provided irrigation systems to farms, parks, and golf courses worldwide, including Pebble Beach Golf Links.

IMAGE: Kevin Cooley
From the May 2011 issue of Inc. magazine




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