725026B Range Road 35, County of Grande Prairie No.1
Fenton’s Greenhouse is more than just a place to buy your flowers in this community. It is a plant nursery full of self-less, kind staff who continue to voluntarily contribute to this community. Fenton’s has been in business for 35+ years and continues to grow. Helen Fenton began this business with just two or three small wood-framed greenhouses. It has grown into a very well-known business that people all over the county make the journey to come and visit. The planting begins in the last week of February and it closes in late June or early July.
Why should you have plants in your home?
There are so many benefits to having plants. There are psychological, physical and emotional benefits. Janet says, “Plants bring life and colour into your home, plus there is nothing more enjoyable than watching a plant grow and bloom!”
What can you buy at Fenton’s?
At Fenton’s, you can purchase many different kinds of plants, but the main focus is on annuals, such as flowers, vegetables, herbs, melons, and strawberries. They plant around 1000 hanging baskets. This year, they did some heritage seeds and some other unusual plants such as Cucamellons and Rapunzel tomatoes.
Who works at Fenton’s?
This greenhouse is run by a group of incredible individuals. Bruce Fenton is the head of this great group. There are 4 full-time ladies (Janet, Willie, Karen and Cloe) and some part time (Colleen, Sherry, Tammy, Moneca and a few others). Hiring students is a goal also, but it is hard to try to please both the needs of the greenhouse and the schedules of the students.
What does everyone do in the off-season?
Off-season is not as long as what you may assume. The main staff only takes the months of July and August off and then start ordering for the next year. Bruce, Karen and Janet do the bulk of this. The off-season that the staff do have is filled with different things. Janet still continues to do greenhouse related things while Willie works two other part-time jobs. Tammy works part-time at the Bezanson Store and also at Moore’s Seeds. Cloe does a variety of jobs, mostly volunteering. Karen says she is a pretend bookkeeper and a combine driver. Moneca comes from Chetwynd to work here as they have a summer home in Teepee Creek. While doing all of these things, the staff also volunteer in each of their communities.
What are the staff favourites?
Janet says, “I love them all! My favourite are lilies, which we do not carry, but my second are the Begonias!” Karen loves Lobularia, Hibiscus and Fox Glove. Tammy is partial to the vines, especially the trailing Dusty Miller. Cloe loves the herbs and Moneca loves the vegetables.
What is the hardest part of running a greenhouse?
Running a greenhouse can be challenging, as can any business. However, it is more challenging to staff a greenhouse, because it is a seasonal job and normally doesn’t last more than 4 months for most. It is also hard to keep the plants healthy and make sure there are enough plants to sell. It is a guessing game to assume how many plants that will be needed for each season.
What is the most beneficial part of running a greenhouse?
Although sometimes it can be challenging, there are so many great things about running a greenhouse! Janet says that the most beneficial parts of running a greenhouse is, “Watching the plants grow and the looks on peoples faces when they come in for the first time. Also, meeting new people, making new friends and working in a beautiful environment.” Another employee says, “I love being paid to play in the dirt!”
What is the benefit about having Fenton’s in this community?
Fenton’s provides more than just flowers. It provides employment for many local women and students. It provides old-fashioned values and excellent products with a good value. “The whole idea of family and friends. Bruce has been a valued member of this community all his life. He still lives in the house he was raised in,” Janet says. She also says that the greenhouse contributes to so many great causes and “supporting the community is part of being a responsible citizen. It is very important, and it just reinforces the foundation of those small community values. All of these staff members have these same values as Bruce!”
What are some of these great causes that Fenton’s contributes to?
Fenton’s not only provides gorgeous flowers and plants, but the contribute immensely to this community. They donate to many causes in Bezanson and area such as the Bezanson Ag Society, The Legion, The Play School, the Bezanson School, Kleskun Hills Museum, PARDS, Cranberry Lake Rodeo, Grand Spirit Foundation and many more. On top of that, each staff member is a volunteer and a contributor to this community!
Why go to Fenton’s instead of a big box store?
“Fenton’s has excellent product for a great price! The first task I had when I started working here part-time was “Geranium Patrol” which meant I was to go through all of the Geranium plants and remove all of the brown leaves, dead blossoms, etc. We take the time and care to make our product the best that we can. Fenton’s takes pride in their product!”
“The Fenton’s are truly ‘Salt of the Earth’ people and we thank them for giving us the opportunity to work here. For her and myself, it’s a labour of love.”
“At the age of 80, Bruce is still out watering and checking the plants every day. He likes to visit with as many of the customers that he can. WE HAVE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!”
“Helen is always with us. This is the legacy that she left for her family and her community. We still follow Helen’s seeding schedule. She always wanted the best product for her customers. She started very small and worked very hard to succeed.”
Written by Ally Pilgrim with contributions from Janet Sarmaga and staff at Fenton’s Greenhouse. Photos taken from the Fenton’s Greenhouse Facebook page.