Walters Gardens, Inc. selected for award
Aug. 21, 2009 – Walters Gardens, Inc., of Zeeland, Mich. has been selected as the “2008 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year” for its ability to build a strong reputation in the Canadian market with superior quality products.
|From left: Michigan Senator Wayne Kuipers, Troy Shumaker (CFO,
Walters Gardens), John Walters (CEO, Walters Gardens), State
Representative Joe Haveman
Aug. 21, 2009 – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Don Koivisto have selected Walters Gardens, Inc., of Zeeland, Mich. as the “2008 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year” for its ability to build a strong reputation in the Canadian market with superior quality products.
"Walters Gardens is an example of a Michigan company that saw an opportunity to expand their business and took full advantage of it by expanding into the Canadian market," said Granholm. “Their products are available in every province of Canada, representing a superior commitment to exporting and market-share expansion. The exported Michigan products are an important part in creating a viable, diverse, and healthy state economy.”
“Walters Gardens was chosen because season after season, they continue to deliver the highest quality agricultural product to their export markets thereby representing Michigan’s commitment to quality and aiding economic diversification,” said Koivisto. “Michigan is second in the nation for agricultural diversity and exports over one-third of its agricultural commodities every year. Recent studies show these exports generated $1.68 billion in 2008 and employed over 13,000 residents.”
Walters Gardens, Inc is a third generation company and North America’s leading wholesale perennial grower with items such as hostas and day lilies. It was established in 1946 and today employs 240 people in the Zeeland area. Their export sales grew 34 percent from 2007-2008 and account for nine percent of overall sales. The company exports over 1,000 varieties of perennials to Canada annually.
“We are honored to be named the ‘2008 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year’,” said John Walters, CEO. Walters Gardens, Inc. “The company has been blessed with increasing market share in Canada over the past several years, and the recognition this award will bring us will help to strengthen our market presence there. Our dedicated staff will continue to work hard to grow our business, help us to retain and expand Michigan based jobs.”
Walters Gardens, Inc. was selected in part due to their commitment to the entire purchasing process. While most wholesale growers do not offer marketing materials, Walters Gardens, Inc recognized the need for adequate marketing and media tools in order to be more successful in selling their brand in Canada.