Westwood Greenhouses Ltd.
Baden, OntarioWestwood Greenhouses – Keeping it in the Family
Nestled among the trees in a beautiful rural setting, 10 minutes west of Kitchener, Ontario, is a thriving family greenhouse business.For over 35 years, Westwood Greenhouses has been dedicated to providing their customers with the best bedding plants in the area. Since 1984, the Numan family have focused on creating lasting relationships with their customers through integrity pricing and quality products.
The Numan’s journey began in Millgrove, Ontario in 1972 where John and Ruth Numan began market gardening on 50 acres of land. In 1973, they built their first greenhouse to start early field crops and bedding plants. By 1979, Ruth and John had expanded their land to include 6 additional greenhouses. Relocating their business to Kincardine, they purchased a farm and built 12 more greenhouses. But in 1984, the family decided to move to Kitchener to take advantage of the milder climate and proximity to market. John and Ruth purchased their farm in Wilmot Township and Westwood Greenhouses came into being. After purchasing, the family put up an additional 12 greenhouses on the property.
Greenhouses were not the only prolific expansions for this hard-working couple.Amid the moves, greenhouse builds and the propagating and growing crops, family life remained the top priority for John and Ruth who welcomed six children, 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Over the course of 20 years Ruth and John increased the size of their operation from 24,000 sq. feet to 100,000 sq. feet. Their primary customers consisted of grocery stores and local hardware stores. In 1992, they started selling to the public at three locations in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and then on the homestead. The retail side of the business thrived because Westwood Greenhouses products became synonymous with quality combined with their ability to offer of a wide selection of plants and unique varieties that other garden centres did not carry. Westwood Greenhouses continues to grow seedlings to finished products to sell to their wholesale customers. Hundreds of plant varieties are available.
In 2003, the family bought a property in Mannheim, a short 10 kilometers away from the Westwood Greenhouse location. Having caught the growing bug, over half of their children wanted to stay in the greenhouse business and so more space and additional opportunities were needed. Starting in July 2004, John oversaw the facility construction to completion on the new 100,000 sq. ft. greenhouse in Mannheim ~ of which 40,000 sq. ft. was designated for retail space with the balance being used for growing the plants to be sold. The retail area opened for business in April 2005 while the growing area was finished during the fall of 2005. The new Colour Paradise Greenhouse became a popular destination for customers from all over Ontario looking for quality product and unique varieties.
Rachel Gondosch, John and Ruth’s youngest daughter, eyes sparkle enthusiastically as she shared her family’s plan to carry on their parent’s legacy.Once again, in the 2019 winter months, Westwood Greenhouses increased their square footage by adding on several new greenhouses. This additional area has been set aside and segregated to produce certified organic herb and vegetable transplants.
Following today’s trends of healthy eating and looking for a niche market, the decision was made to continue on with the bedding plant production but to add to their product repertoire to increase their customer base and product options. To support their recent market expansion, Westwood Greenhouses has become CFIA certified completing the Flowers Canada Growers’ Canadian Greenhouse Certification Program (GCP) Certification Training, a prerequisite to allow shipping of Canadian product into the US market.
In order to sell products labelled "Certified Organic”, Westwood Greenhouses have also met all of the criteria necessary to become a certified organic producer, the certification that helps ensure the integrity of organic products from field to table.
It is clear that not only do the Numan’s children have a strong work ethic, a passion for faith and family but John and Ruth’s entrepreneurial ways have definitely rubbed off on them. Looking towards the future, Ruth says: “As in all enterprises, we know that there are no shortages of challenges ahead but we also know that there is an abundance of great opportunities. We just needed to decide which opportunities were right for Westwood Greenhouses. We are confident our new focus and vision will pave the way for the next generations of Numans.”