Frese Ornamental Nursery has a rich history of growing high quality plants for Quincy area residents. The business can be traced back to 1853, when German immigrant Joseph Frese and his family settled in the Coatsburg area. His son, Louis, founded an orchard in the 1870s and moved the business to the north end of 12th Street in Quincy in 1904. In 1927, the business moved again to the current location at 3100 N. 18th St. Over the years, the nursery evolved from an orchard specializing in fruit trees and berries to a full service landscaping, retail garden center, and nursery business.
Today, Frese Ornamental Nursery is owned by Mike Maas, Mike’s son-in-law and daughter, Ted and Sarah Genenbacher, and Mike’s daughter, Katie Ippensen. Seven family members are currently employed by Frese Ornamental Nursery, the youngest representing the 7th generation.
“I worked at the nursery through high school,” said Katie Ippensen, “I always knew I would eventually come back to the business. However, Dad believed it was important to get experience outside the nursery, so I worked for Brink Construction and Brink Ready Mix for 10 years before coming back full time.”
Ippensen worked in the fields with her father as a grower when she returned to the family business and is now responsible for bookkeeping, wholesale accounts, and “a little bit of everything,” like most small business employees. Sarah Genenbacher, Ippensen’s sister, serves as marketing director and is also responsible for merchandise and events in the Garden Galleria. Genenbacher, who operated the Victorian Grace Tea Room, is also well known for her wonderful cooking abilities and provides catering for events in the Garden Galleria – and occasionally homemade cookies for customers to sample while they shop.
The Garden Galleria, one of the three primary divisions of Frese Ornamental Nursery, opened in 2008 and has a large selection of garden, landscape accent, and gift items. Unique accents such as pots, fountains, benches, bistro tables, statues, wind chimes, gazing balls, and trellises are some examples of the products available, along with more practical garden needs such as gloves and weather monitors.
“We also have a complete birding department,” said Genenbacher. “The demand for birding items continues to grow; we offer bird seed, feeders, baths, houses, and more.”
The landscaping division of the business - specializing in residential but also offering commercial landscape design and installation - has also grown, thanks to strong demand.
“The landscaping portion of business has boomed,” said Ippensen. “Landscaping is no longer just planting bushes in front of the house to enhance appearance. It is more common now to use landscaping to create an outdoor living area that is an extension of the house. Outdoor living areas are becoming as important as rooms inside the home.”
“Outdoor kitchens continue to increase in popularity in the Quincy area,” says Genenbacher. “People are now investing more in their homes and staying in their homes longer. Outdoor living areas are a great place to relax and entertain.”
The growing division makes up the third major portion of Frese Ornamental Nursery. Plants from the growing division are used not only for landscaping and the garden center, but are also sold to other nurseries throughout the tri-state area. A wide range of plants are grown at Frese Ornamental Nursery, but Ippensen says they are best known for their evergreens, such as boxwood, Japanese yew, and upright juniper plants.
The Frese Ornamental Nursery family is proud of their tradition not only of growing quality trees and shrubs, but of providing excellent customer service.
“We want people to want to come here,” said Genenbacher. “Our friendly and knowledgeable staff enjoys helping customers solve problems. We also focus on hospitality and creating a welcoming atmosphere – and usually provide some type of drink and snack for customers.”
“Although we have the selection and services of a large business, we are still a ‘mom-and-pop’ family business,” said Ippensen. “We don’t ever want the business to get so big that we lose the focus on quality and customer service.”
To learn about upcoming ‘thirsty Thursday’ events, to schedule an event for your group, club or business in the Garden Galleria, or to learn more about the products and services offered by Frese Ornamental Nursery, call (217) 222-0977 or visit www.freseornamentalnursery.com.