Karthauser and Sons Greenhouse in Germantown, WI continues to thrive by adapting to change for over 50 years. What began as a greenhouse operation growing potted blooming plants for independent retail florists has transformed over the years into a full service floral wholesaler selling potted blooming plants, cut flowers and floral supplies to independent retail florists, grocery chains and garden centers throughout Wisconsin. The one thing that has never changed is Karthauser’s commitment to quality. While other growers have succumbed to the ‘low price leader’ mentality Karthauser remains true to their niche of exceptional quality and customer service.
Greg Wilke, Karthauser Marketing Director, comes from a long line of florists. His parents owned Badger Wholesale in Milwaukee and when they decided to sell their business several years ago, Greg stayed on to help manage the business for awhile. At about the same time Brian Karthauser began to recognize the need for a more structured marketing program for his greenhouse business. Greg soon began working for Brian and made major changes in both the product mix and marketing direction. Coming from a cut flower background, Greg first added fresh-cut flowers to Karthauser product mix with a huge cooler constructed in one corner of the shipping area. Sales people are located right on the shipping floor to improve communication between customers, sales and production. Soon to come were floral supplies making Karthauser a ‘one stop shopping’ supplier for all types of floral business’
Brian and Greg soon began thinking of ways to better market their product and came up with the ‘Think Flowers’ logo. Brian wanted a really simple logo and was inspired by the ‘Think Milk’ logo from the dairymen’s association. He also relates the story of how in driving with his kids, passed a billboard advertising macaroni and cheese. His kids instantly started begging for… macaroni and cheese for dinner. The message is simple but at the same time inspires so many opportunities for floral producturchases. While the ‘Think Flowers’ brand is only available to independent retails florists, a different brand was created for chain stores. The ‘Grown in Wisconsin’ logo is a brand created by the state of Wisconsin to promote agriculture in this state. This popular brand is promoted by Karthauser to chain stores such as Pic and Save and Piggly Wiggly. An updated website and Facebook presence are the ‘new frontiers’ of social media marketing that Karthauser is establishing.
In spite of this rough economy Karthauser and Sons has managed to prosper. A continual commitment to quality, dedication to change and continual marketing have allowed them to grow where other greenhouse business’ have folded. So when you’re driving around and spot one of Karthauser’s delivery trucks with the colorful ‘Think flowers’ decoaration, do more than think – buy local! Whatever the occasion, support Wisconsin agriculture and the greenhouse industy by purchasing a beautiful fresh, flowering plant!