Parker and Centennial, CO
Marley Hodgson, VP and Owner of Highlands Garden Center at the Big Tool Box in Colorado started off in the restaurant and retail business. He started a restaurant company, which grew into four states, at which point he sold it and semi-retired. Retirement didn’t last long when he took a look at the Big Tool Box/Highlands Garden Center in Centennial, Colorado, and liked what he saw. Seven years ago, he and his wife, Jennifer bought out the managing partners and Marley came out of retirement. It’s a family business: Marley’s father-in-law, Dan Warner, is the President, Marley’s two daughters, Harper and Hadley work there, and Jennifer works there part-time! Dan Warner in has been in the business for 30 years so has plenty of experience in the industry.
Last year, Marley opened their second location in Parker, CO. The new location opened in September 2021 and sits on 9.2 acres. It has a Prospiant Vail greenhouse/headhouse and is 13,000 sq ft. The entire location is 40,000 sq ft, which encompasses the Big Tool Box part of the business. By comparison, the original location in Centennial is 6,000 sq ft with an 8,500 outdoor garden center and sits on 7.5 acres.
Prospiant greenhouses stood out as the greenhouse manufacturer of choice because they were local: local manufacturer, local representation, and came highly recommended as a superior product. Marley did run into problems during construction of the Parker facility, mostly caused by Covid. He also encountered supply chain issues, and trying to marry a steel building (housing Big Tool Box) with a separate greenhouse (for Highlands Garden Center) was challenging. In the end though, it worked out and the two buildings work well together.
Most of the plants come from local Colorado growers, but he also sources from national suppliers, from as far afield as Oregon, California and Ohio.
At the height of the summer busy season, Marley employs 220 people. In the slower winter season, they can get by with around 75 people at each location. In winter, the garden center becomes a holiday house, with Christmas trees, décor, wreaths and gifts for sale.
Both Harper and Hadley work at the Centennial facility. One is a cashier and the other is a garden center assistant. Hadley has just graduated high school, but Marley isn’t sure she’s going to follow in his footsteps and return to work there after college!
It’s great to work with Paul Golden, my salesperson at Prospiant. We encountered lots of complexities that the contractors weren’t used to, but Paul helped with advice and resources, so we were able to finish the project successfully.Marley Hodgson, VP and Owner of Highlands Garden Center