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Page2C - THE CHARLOTTE POST - Thursday, June 24,1993
From The School House
To The Greenhouse
By Cassandra Wynn
The Business Monthly
Jesse Campbell calls his nursery/green
house business "DUworth's Little Secret."
"People don't realize what's here untU they
come past us. The real treasures are Inside the
greenhouse," he saild.
At the corner of McDonald Avenue and
South Boulevard Is Campbell's Greenhouses
and Nursery. Variety Is his strength, said
Campbell. He has plants from all parts of the
Included In his collection sire trees, shrubs,
bedding plants, herbs and house plants
Including orchids and bonsai.
In his eight years In business, Campbell has
worked to build his collection. He said his
bragging rights are for his bonsai. "I buy from
the masters who know what they're doing."
Some of his larger ones are 40 years old.
The miniature trees give his greenhouse an
Orchids are his strength, he said and he Is
popular In the Dilworth area because of his
orchid program that provides his customers a
place to store their plants when they are not In
bloom. "When the orchid finishes blooming,
customers can bring It back and we keep It for
six to eight months and they can come back In
and pick it up."
It Is that kind of effort that has kept people
coming to his greenhouses. He builds relation
ships with the people who come into his busi
A former teacher, Campbell uses the same
knack he had for recalUng names of students
to remember his customers. He taught biology
and chemistry for 15 years.
"People can come tn and tell us what they
want. It may be a gift basket, and we can make
It," Campbell said.
His last stint at teaching was at Myers Park
High School where he started the greenhouse ^
"I developed a curriculum and my students 5
were potting and growing plemts. We had plant ‘
sells - fti the spring geraniums, and polnsettlas
for Christmas - and made good money,"
The program help raise funds for other
school activity and It became so popular that
he received plenty of attention and support
from administration officials, he said.
After 10 years of successfully managing the
greenhouse program at Myers Park, Campbell
decided to start his own business. But before
he made the move he wtmted to get first-hand
Campbell moved to Atlanta and found jobs
with some of the larger greenhouses. For
ailmost three years, he worked tn any capacity
that would give him experience. "I learned how
to be resourceful," he said.
He chose a site in Charlotte for his business
that had formerly been a greenhouse, but had
n't been tn use for almost 20 years. "The roof
had caved In and rotted. It had to be rebuilt."
In 1985 during a hot July, Campbell started
his business with two greenhouses.
"I grabbed the bear by the tall. It was the
wrong time to go Into business, but I took the
chance. We had the worst drought that year. I
didn't make money," Campbell said.
The first three years were lean ones. "I sacri
ficed those years," Now he is reaping the bene
fits of the sacrifice. On his two-acre site, he
has 12 greenhouses and customers from all
over Charlotte. Locating in the Dilworth area
proved to be smart because he was able to get
as customers people he had developed a rap
port with while he was teaching at Myers Park.
The fact that Campbell's Greenhouses and
Nursery Is the closest business of Its kind to
downtown Charlotte Is an advantage. "I sell to
other retail stores, florists and the like."
Campbell said competition doesn't bother
him. "ft's the quality of the plant that makes
the difference. A lot of plants In the stores
don't have the kind of care that I give my
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