Hi, my name is Joe McShaw. You may have seen me around the greenhouse and maybe you haven’t but that is where I spend most of my day. I’m the one who is responsible for the plant’s quality and plant care. So please remember if there are any issues with the plants in the greenhouse, it is my concern not the others that work here. If there are any issues, problems or concerns regarding the plants, please ask for me to answer them.
I grew up in a Pennsylvania with my all my siblings and lots of chores to do every day. My Dad (Andrew) and mom (Ann) had multifaced business which included: a greenhouse, vegetable farm, honeybee farm, and a side business doing carpentry. So, I grew up learning an abundance of diverse skills. It sure made me realize what hard work was. I learned a lot of talents on the farm that have helped me think the way I do around the greenhouse. On the farm I was the youngest of 10 siblings; Dave, Don, Judy (passed away young battling cancer), Larry, Ron, Joann, Fred, June and Jane (they are twins) and then there is me. My mom passed away when I was 9 years old, so my dad was left to raise us as well keep all the business going. We learned a lot from a hard life and the struggles that goes along with it. After years of working at home, I spent a lot of time helping my brothers with their honeybee businesses traveling to Wisconsin, Canada, and Florida. Once I graduated high school, I found it was time to move permanently to Wisconsin. I worked for my brother, Don, in the greenhouse and also worked with my other brother, Dave, with his honeybees.
In 1983 I married my lovely wife, Marci. Marci and I have four children. Chad, Clint, Dwight, and Falena. Clint, Dwight and Falena, work with us at the greenhouse. Chad decided to pursue other goals in life and works in IT.
At the age of 22, in 1984, Marci and I started Honeymoon Acres. At the beginning, Marci and I would tear down old barns for people. We started Honeymoon Acres with only $5.00 in our pocket. We would then use those barn boards to build greenhouses. That was the start.
The first greenhouse we built was a total of 1,000 square feet, a 20’x50’ greenhouse. During this time, Marci and I both had full time jobs, children to take care of, and we also had our 5 acres of vegetables. We would take the produce down to the corner of the old Red & White restaurant in New Holstein to sell on Saturdays. The next few years we expanded more of our greenhouses. It has been truly an American dream that we achieved so much. We had a young family and a business to hold up. Around 1990, our greenhouses were beginning to expand much more.
We had to decide to either to do more with the greenhouses or expand the vegetable farm. At the time of this debate, the greenhouses were doing much better than the vegetable farm. We made the decision to put all our attention towards the greenhouse and it took off to what it is today.
2002 we had to make a pivotal decision for Honeymoon Acres. Currently, we have about 60,000 square feet of greenhouses on Honeymoon Hill Road. We had many customers coming through our greenhouses, and we wanted to make your visit to our place even more pleasurable. So instead of having Port-o-Potties, we looked into putting restrooms in. We called the State of Wisconsin to learn how to go about this. We were then told by the State Employees that if your business had 25 people or more there at one time, it is a state law, that you need to have public restrooms. After that statement and the fact that the Port-o-Potties are not good for handicap to use, we knew we had to do something about it. At this point, we looked into the land around us to expand but it was not for sale. So instead we looked around New Holstein and got the property on Ford Drive. That land is located on a TIF District and we started to build what you now know as our retail location. Since then we have upgraded and changed a few things around.
It cost us a fortune to invest our whole lives into our business. So, after 6 months of building the whole place mostly by ourselves we opened in 2003. It was enjoyable to see our customers think of our place as a “Plant Heaven.”
We do miss the quiet little place on Honeymoon Hill Road, but we really had no choice. We try to make our place on the highway easily accessible and beautiful for everyone to enjoy. The store front now consents of an 27,000 square foot annual greenhouse, a 10,500 square foot perennial greenhouse, and most recently five 1,800 square foot greenhouse where tomatoes, peppers, cool crops, herbs and vine crops each have their own house. We did this for better growing conditions for different species and to make it more convenient for our customers. We have of 2,400 square foot of salesroom where we sell pots, jams and jellies, as well as fertilizers. We also have an outdoor area for displays of lawn ornaments, our nursery stock, extra perennials and other plants that is about 20,000 square feet. In addition, we have more greenhouses on the upper part of property and out in our field that is used strictly for overflow of plants that we use to restock the retail area.
When you pull into our establishment, you will not believe your eyes in spring. It sure is beautiful, especially when everything is in bloom.
We have expanded and purchased the land on both sides of us. The field to the north consists of more greenhouses where we store our ‘stock’ of plants. The field itself we grow a large section for pumpkins and gourds to be sold in fall. We most recently purchased the buildings (The old businesses Gruett’s Power Center and Seasons By Design) across the street to us that we are using as a production site we call ‘The Potting Shed’. It is our production facility where we start the plants from cuttings and seed. Then, we let them get big enough for us to plant them into the containers you take home with you. It is a great addition and will make everything easier in the long run. The land in between our production site and the retail store will be used for parking. Hopefully we will finally have enough in spring! We use the other building at storage for soil and flats. We also just finished up work on the new greenhouse, which is the pink greenhouse, if you drive past at night. This greenhouse is cool since it a growing greenhouse where the seedlings grow up big and strong with the proper light, heat, and water ratios.
We still have our old place on Honeymoon Hill Road, but it is an overflow facility only and is not open to the public. It consists of an area just to grow our plants so that can reach their full potential to be moved and sold at the location on the highway. Just think we need to water and take care of plants in all locations of greenhouses and we fill both areas for spring too.
Working in the greenhouse is not just a job, but a way of life. To live a full life, you must find a job that you love. The way I got started to love plants was from my past. I also enjoyed being my own boss and doing things the way I thought they should be done.
Through all the struggles and situations, we always seem to pull through. A great privilege of ours is our kids. They are all a pleasure to work with and be around. The vast majority of our workers our children and their spouses: Clint and Joellyn, Dwight and Allison, Falena and Evan. Clint, Dwight, and Evan help me out in the greenhouse growing part of the plants and moving them from the growing location, Honeymoon Hill Road, to the store location. Dwight, Allison, and Evan also work in another division of the business which is Landscaping. Falena, Allison, and Joellyn are there to assist Marci in the salesroom as a cashier and customer service. They all help to grow the plants until we get busy enough that they need to help customers instead.
In a business like this people need to wear multiple hats and everyone is responsible for an aspect of the business from website design, to social media, to landscaping, maintenance and mum deliveries.
We would appreciate it if you could continue to be patient with us. We understand that the wait in spring is long at the checkout, but we try to be as fast and accurate as possible. As there are so few of us here working, we apologize if it is hard to find us to answer questions.
We dedicate our time and effort for you to have the best experience you can as a customer. I hope this gives you an idea how much me and my family love our business. We are truly thankful for everyone who comes to our place to purchase our plants. We are proud to be one of the best greenhouses in Wisconsin.