By Jamie Swinnerton
Like many local businesses, Michaleen’s Florist and Garden Center have become more than just a business, they’ve become a neighbor. In November of 2017 Michaleen’s celebrated their 30-year anniversary, but the banner announcing the impressive milestone remains. The business’ owner, Michaleen “Mickey” Herzog, said the banner will likely stay until next November as a celebration of the many years the garden center has not just endured, but flourished.
“I think 30 is a long time,” Herzog said. “I think it’s pretty good to make it 30 years in a business so that’s why we decided to celebrate it.”
To celebrate their achievement Herzog said they threw a small party. Like the local, community business that it is, the party included the local, community members that had been a part of its success.
“We had a little get-together with all the folks that had worked here in the past that were still around,” Herzog said. “We did some specials here in the store that kind of reflected what 30 years looked like.”
When the cold, dreary winter months are done there might be more celebrating to come, Herzog said.
Although many Lansing and Ithaca residents know Michaleen’s as it stands now on Triphammer Road, that’s not where the business started. Before moving in 1990, the business was located in Lansing Village Place next to the current McDonalds. But, they wanted more room to grow and expand, so they built the structure they now occupy, greenhouse and all.
“We wanted to start a greenhouse and have more space, so we just decided to build our own and then we were able to add the greenhouse,” Herzog said.
The addition of the greenhouse has given the business more opportunities.
“There are not really many greenhouses in town so I guess what I would want people to do is come in and check out the really cool plants that we have,” Herzog said. “We buy direct out of Florida, we try to get really different stuff, we’re always looking at what’s new. Plants are making a big comeback, especially with the younger millennials, they love them, so that’s something.”
Out of the greenhouse the business does a lot of plant maintenance and contract work. But weddings are where Michaleen’s stays busiest.
“We do, on average, about 55 or 60 weddings a year, so that’s really our niche, and they’re mostly between May and October so we have really busy summer months,” Herzog said.
As a local business, Herzog said they have tried to give back to the community that has supported them by donating to local causes.
“I’ve had three kids go through the Lansing schools, my husband was a school board member,” Herzog said. “I think I give a lot to the community. Usually to the school, to anybody that asks for things, a lot of times unless we’ve been totally tapped out.”
But one of the best parts of being a local business owner, Herzog said, is seeing the kids who worked for her grow up and start their lives.
“I go somewhere and see kids who have worked for me through the years and now they’re physicians, they work on Wall Street, they have kids of their own and they’re doing all this cool stuff,” Herzog said. “They have businesses of their own. That part is really neat, having been in the community as long as I have.”