Theisen’s opens new garden center

On April 9, the Monticello Theisen’s store opened its new garden center at the former Family Foods property on N. Sycamore Street. Plants and trees are being sold outside, with the addition of a heated greenhouse. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

Inside the Family Foods building, Theisen’s has expanded its offerings of lawn and garden equipment, as well as outdoor items such a kayaks and lawn furniture. The expansion of the garden center has allowed the downtown store to offer more items such as groceries and toys.

The Monticello Ambassdors paid a visit to the Theisen’s Garden Center, on the former Family Foods site, April 10. From left are Ambassadors Deb Merfeld, Gerald Retzlaff and Pat Recker; Theisen’s store manager Betty Byers; Monticello Chamber of Commerce director Jan Hoag; and Ambassadors Suzan Ehlers, Amanda Hackney, Rick Meyer, Ashley Faust, Melissa Ehrisman and Craig Thompson. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     There has been some development taking place inside the former Family Foods building and parking lot as of late.

     The Sycamore Street location is the new home to the Monticello Theisen’s Home•Farm•Auto Garden Center.

     The facility opened on April 9, despite the winter weather Mother Nature wants to keep around.

     Theisen’s Store Manager Betty Byers said the biggest reason for the garden center expansion off-site was due to space.

     “This time of year, the garden center is huge for our customers,” said Byers. “It draws people to our location.”

     Theisen’s purchased the Family Foods property back in November, Byers shared, with the decision then to relocate the garden center.

     “We had been renting it for some time for cold storage,” she said.

     Theisen’s took on a lot of interior work to bring the building up to par to sell garden and outdoor merchandise inside. They are utilizing over 2,100 square feet not only for sale items, but storage and overstock as well.

     “Quite a bit of work went into it to get to this point,” said Byers of the project that began in the second week of February.

     That work included: plumbing, HVAC, shelving, painting, a new outdoor sign, exterior lighting, electrical, new overhead doors and walk-in doors, cement work, new windows, and flooring.

     A heated greenhouse was also erected on site.

     “That’s a big upgrade for us,” said Byers.

     Theisen’s customers who visit the garden center will find: Annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs; lawn and garden décor; pots and planters; soils; herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides; landscape timbers and cement blocks; grass seeds; rock and mulch; watering needs; mowers and trimmers; patio furniture; grills and accessories; kayaks and life jackets; hand tools and long-handle tools; and more.

     In order to provide great service to Theisen’s local customers, they hired four new employees, and will maintain two people at the garden center at all times.

     As for speculation surrounding a Theisen’s expansion into the Family Foods building, Byers said, “At this time, it’s just the garden center.”

     Before coming to Monticello to manage the local Theisen’s, Byers has worked for the company for over two years.

     “I was assistant manager in Dubuque before here,” she shared.

     Byers said people see Theisen’s as their home-town store, and she feels the Monticello location “is moving in the right direction.

     “People here like to see change and see the store growing,” added Byers. “The buzz is out there.”

     The move has allowed Monticello Theisen’s to double its garden and outdoor offers, as well as grow their merchandise.

     “Everything has doubled in size, and we brought in more variety,” said Byers.

     For example, the garden center features three different brands of kayaks, something she said smaller stores have not been able to carry in the past.

     Inside the main store location on E. First Street, they’ve been able to clear some space to expand the food items and toy isle year round.

     “We’ll also have featured spaces, showcasing items seen in our ad,” Byers said.

     The garden center will remain open the same hours as the Theisen’s store. Byers said for now, the plan is to close down the center in September, unless it turns cold earlier.

     “We’ll close down inside as well,” she said of the items sold inside the Family Foods building. Theisen’s will continue to use the family for storage.

     As for future changes to Theisen’s Byers said she can’t elaborate at this time.

     “Some of the changes we’ve made already, people just don’t know they’re seen them,” she offered. “Slowly but surely…”

     Theisen’s will host a garden enter summer event on May 26 with food, music, giveaways and a live broadcast by iHeart Radio.

     “We do things like this in Dubuque,” said Byers. “This will be a first for Monticello. We want to draw some attention here.”



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