RACINE COUNTY — When Wayne’s Daughters Greenhouses opens for the season this April 24, it will be with one big difference from past years: Only the Raymond location — not the Caledonia store — will sell plants.
Owners Wayne and Sandra Loppnow decided that the Highway 32 road project, with its one-two punch last year and this year, has forced them to close their location at 6207 Douglas Ave. Starting this year, they will only sell at their ninth-generation farm at 2429 43rd St., about 1 mile west of Interstate 94 between highways K and G.
Douglas Avenue was closed between Five and Six Mile roads from last April 25 to about June 1, Sandra Loppnow said Monday. The “No thru traffic” signs turned away most potential customers, and some of those who did venture through got traffic citations for their trouble, she said.
“Our busiest month, (the road) was closed,” Loppnow said. “You only have a short window to sell those plants.”
The Loppnows ended up hauling the plants they had grown at their 6-acre Douglas Avenue property out to their 1838 Raymond farm, Sandra said.
“We lost a lot of plants. They got too big,” she added.
The Loppnow family had sold from their Caledonia store for 14 years, Sandra said, adding: “It was so busy.” Wayne said the Douglas Avenue store produced about 40 percent of their total revenue.
“It was a very busy place,” Sandra said. “It was sad, because we’ve been there for many years.”
This year the same stretch of Douglas Avenue as last year will be closed from April to November, she said. So, the couple have decided to not reopen that store and have put the property on the market, asking $425,000.
They don’t plan to find another second location, either.
The Loppnows are, however, currently growing plants at their Caledonia property with its approximately 25 greenhouses.
“If we’d sell it, we’d just put more greenhouses up here,” at their 100-acre Raymond farm, Sandra said. “This is the trial to see how many people come here from in town. And a lot of people (came) to both places.”
This year, because the Loppnow family will concentrate on selling from their farm, they’re making some improvements. They’ve added concrete floors in some of their approximately 25 greenhouses, will add a third checkout station that will be outdoors, put new plant benches in greenhouses so there’s more room to walk, added three picnic tables and have taken down a fence to open a shady side yard to the public.
One thing that’s remained largely the same is the involvement of Wayne’s and Sandra’s daughters. Three of them have stayed with the business: Jennifer Loppnow-Becker; Katie Loppnow-Klotz; and Casey Lawrence, who does all of the business’ social media work including a Facebook video each week. Their other daughter, Kari Loppnow-Morgan, helped start the business but works for the City of New Berlin. Kari is a former Raymond town clerk.
When the business opens for this growing season, it will be open seven days a week until all plants are sold, usually about June 15, Sandra said.
Then the family will immediately begin planning and preparing for next year.
“Our busiest month, (the road) was closed. You only have a short window to sell those plants.” Sandra Loppnow, co-owner of Wayne’s Daughters Greenhouses