by Laura Rodley
Turks’ Greenhouses owned by Claudia Turk and her daughter Anna Keesling supplies their customers with 45,000 thousand high quality mums grown on seven acres in Grayslake, IL. They are one of the largest supplier of mums in Lake County, supplying mums and plants for home gardeners, clubs, municipalities and landscape businesses.
They are carrying on the tradition of providing high quality plants and stellar service which was started by Barnabas Turk in 1978. At the time, he owned a successful landscaping business and wanted to branch out, offering premium plants that he had raised along with excellent service. After he died in 2015, his wife and daughter continued on his trademark tradition of excellence. Due to all their efforts, the business earned a reputation for consistent high quality and has loyal repeat customers and a thriving retail and wholesale business.
“Everyone enjoyed working together,” Anna Turk recalled of working alongside her father.
There are eight 30 by 100 foot Quonset huts where the plants are grown.
There are two large greenhouses for the people to walk in and choose their plants in the retail area. The amount of employees they have varies from season to season, currently they have 10.
They supply plants for local functions and for fundraisers. Traditionally, many fundraisers start up as soon as school begins. In the fall, these are actual sales where the plants are pre-sold and Turks’ will deliver them to the fundraiser for the people to come pick their plants up.
For the past six years, they have offered a second option. On a specially designated day, individuals come in with a flyer stating that a portion of their purchase will go toward whichever fundraiser they are supporting. Turks’ writes the amount spent on a portion of the flyer which the buyer then takes back to the fundraiser’s committee. Turks’ will keep their own records of the sale. This way, fundraising committees can keep track of what monies they are raising. After the fundraiser is over, both the fundraiser committee and Turks’ tallies up the money raised, make sure both match and then Turks’ sends a check to the fundraiser committee.
In this option, no volunteers are necessary to find sponsors, place orders, collect money and arrange either pick up or drop-off and delivery of a product. This also eliminates the hassle of dealing with dissatisfied buyers that sometimes occurs with fundraisers. Instead, the sponsor/ buyer chooses the plants they want at Turk’s and walks away happy. “It’s working out well,” said Anna.
Turks’ recently released their own fall catalog, offering an extended palette of mums in various sizes of bloom and colors.
Their catalog also carries kales and cabbages, including Osaka Pink, Pigeon Purple and Pigeon White, Ruby Perfection and Black Tuscan, and Swiss chard and hardy beets.
In addition to fall plants, they grow pansies and violas, plus a variety of ornamental peppers including Black Olive and Black Pearl, Chilly Chili Peppers. They round out their offerings with annuals, perennials and edibles.
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