The Growing Place Celebrates 80 Years

The Growing Place has become a second home for generations of gardeners. With over 800 varieties of plants, the center has come a long way since they first took root in 1936 as Emma’s Perennials, one of the few shops in the area that propagated and planted perennials directly into the ground.

Emma and Fritz Glatzhofer passed down the love of gardening to their nephew Rich Massat and his wife, Carol, who’ve made it their business to continue the family tradition.

“In 1973 we came down here from Wisconsin, and Rich’s aunt helped him learn plants, he and her worked together. Rich had another job and the two of them would work together, and he learned all the plant names with German accents because she was German,” said Carol Massat, Co-Owner of the Growing Place.

Rich and Carol continued to raise perennials solely from the ground until they realized they couldn’t satisfy the needs of the community.

So in 1976, they renamed the shop The Growing Place and began the installation of greenhouses and beds – selling potted perennials, annuals, and shrubbery over their four acres of property.

“It was a way for us to weigh out more customers and do service, and people could take what they want and leave and it wasn’t as time consuming as well, but bottom line is we could help more people,” said Rich Massat, Co-Owner of The Growing Place.

But even that wasn’t enough to keep up with the demand.  So, in 1989 they bought 18 acres of land in Aurora, opening a second location.

And as their business grew so did their family, as their son and daughter lent a helping hand throughout the years.

“Well they always used to bring us here to work or sort of work or play, it was always sort of an adventure,” said Becca Massat, Rich and Carol’s daughter.

Those adventures became full-time jobs and eventually more, as their parents plan to follow tradition and hand down the family business.

“I’ve been working professionally here for a decade now, I feel really happy about that and I feel like I’ve been putting my best effort forward,” said Michael Massat, Rich and Carol’s son.

“I think now it’s a great thing that they’re in and they’re enthusiastic and it gives them a jumping point, and what carol and I have done we can only imagine they can do even more,” said Rich Massat.

Ensuring their family business will grow towards more success.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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