In 1918, Alma Glei (1860-1936) and son Carl Glei (1898-1989) purchased forty acres of property on Milnes Road in Hillsdale County Michigan. The farm began with 50 apple trees and slowly expanded to 100 acres of apple trees when Carl Glei married Ruth Haskins (1904-1997) in 1929. Carl and Ruth had two sons David (1937- )and Owen (1943- ) who also devoted their lives to the growth and development of the business. The business has seen great change since its humble beginnings in 1918. The original 40 acres has expanded to over 300 acres of total acres including over 2 acres of greenhouses. A fire on January 4, 1990 completely destroyed the main building which included the salesroom and apple grading equipment. Although a difficult time, the fire allowed for an even better, more functional building that was in use four months after the fire.
On July 3, 2007, the business once again suffered a devastating loss to fire. Although the fire began in the workshop building adjacent to the main building, the fire was unable to be contained and quickly spread to the main building. The workshop, apple storage, apple grader, retail store, and equipment storage was completely destroyed. The greenhouses were slightly damaged, but mostly unharmed. We remained open for business outside in the perennial shade area until mid November. After careful planning and the hard work of many people, the business has been rebuilt with a packing house/apple storage building to the north of the old store, a workshop, and retail store now in use.
The business is now operated by Owen and his son Damon. David retired in January of 2009 after working hard for many, many years. Glei's now grows over 30 varieties of apples, 200 varieties of perennials, 300 varieties of annuals, several varieties of Christmas trees, florist flowers, and many types of vegetables. Owen, Damon, and a hardworking, dedicated staff strive to continue to bring the community top quality apples, flowers, vegetables, nursery stock, and Christmas trees.
The next generation of Glei's can often be found helping around the store during the busy spring and holiday months. They are quickly learning the ropes of being a business owner and the importance of having a good work ethic. Both of Damon's children, Brody and Kallie, along with his sister Lora and nieces Katie, Makenna, Rylie and Amelia can often be seen helping water plants, bagging groceries, making bows, or even carrying out Christmas trees. They also tend to star in our commercials when they run on Channel 10.
Glei's recently acquired a piece of land in Coldwater, Michigan and built a new retail outlet. The new store is run by Krista, Damon's wife. The store is a farm market and greenhouse and will include a bakery. Our new store opened in the February of 2014 after selling out of a little red storage barn for a few months then out of the greenhouse. We have already gotten a very positive response from the community and have a fairly large customer base there already. Our hope is to serve them better and more often by being more conveniently located.
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