Graf Growers is celebrating over 38 years with a new addition to the family – Gladys the flower truck!
While our roots lie in our rich agricultural heritage, our business continues to evolve. Our newest addition is a mobile flower truck that takes our Akron grown flowers and plants to local festivals, fleas and community events. Because of our dedication to bring nature’s beauty and happiness through flowers to people everywhere in our community, our story is expanding with our mobile flower truck!
But where did the story begin?
The history of Graf’s can be traced back to 1910 when Ernest Graf Sr. left the South Akron tile plant and moved his family to St. Michael’s Avenue in west Akron. A Swiss immigrant with a strong background in farming, Ernest provided for his family and introduced his four sons to farming. His son Rudy kept agriculture in the family. In 1932, Rudy purchased a small farm, also on St. Michael’s Avenue, with his wife Bethi. Rudy and Bethi’s first son, John, had a large hand in running that farm and in 1962 – with his wife Janice – began farming full-time on land rented on St. Michael’s Avenue. In 1963, they added rented land on White Pond Drive.
The reputation that John cultivated grew, just like his crops. As a truck farmer, he sold his produce at various farmers markets, wholesale markets and groceries. However, in the late 60’s and early 70’s the rise of large supermarkets caused many small markets out of business or into hardship. When the owner of most of the land they farmed, decided he wanted to retire, John and Janice grasped the opportunity to expand their farming operation to include a market to sell vegetables in and a greenhouse business to develop. The Graf Greenhouse and Garden Center emerged.
TToday we – Lisa, Scott, and Craig Graf – operate the business with our niece, Karlie. We are the last of over 100 descendants of Ernest Graf Sr. to still make our living off this wonderful land.