MEET THE OWEN FAMILY
For 37 years the Owen family owned and farmed a 320-acre property in Pennsylvania. The farm produced numerous organic crops, raised animals (including llamas and horses), and fed the Owen family well! Brad started many seeds in their small greenhouse and he and Deenie maintained extensive flower and vegetable gardens each year. Aiming for a quiet retirement life in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, they left the farm to settle in Old Fort in 2009.
As avid gardeners, they soon discovered PaintersGreenhouse, and while shopping heard that original owners Susie and Stephen Painter were looking to retire. Deenie and Brad couldn't imagine such a community icon being lost (there was talk of it being bulldozed or turned into monoculture), and they'd always dreamed of owning a greenhouse. Brad and Deenie's daughter Dana was studying ornithology out west and while loving birds, missed the lush green plants of the east coast. When visiting over Christmas she also fell in love with Painters. Following a season of of Deenie volunteering and getting a feel
feel for the business, she and Brad made the decision to purchase Painters in 2010 and run it with Dana and her then partner, Jerome. So much for retirement! Fortunately, Stephen and Susie (who built the business from the ground up), agreed to stay on for a year as consultants - it was a steep learning curve! Previously, Brad had worked for decades as a wetlands biologist, Deenie worked in therapeutic massage, and Dana came from an education in environmental science and raptor biology, however their science backgrounds did very little to help when learning how
how to mass produce in a greenhouse setting - it took a lot of experimentation and dedication (along with some very key team members) to get to where they are today!
How did Painters win the Owens over, and what keeps them committed during the long days of hard work? Brad has always been a dedicated ecologist with a love for the environment, and he and Deenie raised their daughters surrounded by nature. He has been a driving force behind the continued expansion of Painters' native plant selection. Brad and Deenie loved the idea of providing the community with beautiful plants as well as
community with beautiful plants as well as having the opportunity to encourage folks to garden with the environment and wildlife in mind. They and Dana appreciated the wide selection of plants grown by the Painters, and have almost doubled the diversity of crops offered over the last decade. Their ornamental gardens at home are an incredibly biodiverse mishmash of annual and perennial pollinator-friendly plants, and support a huge variety of insects and other wildlife - Brad's gardening style is to fill every nook and cranny with blooms of all colors (typically the 'throw-outs' from Painters)!
Dana grew up savoring wildflower walks with her family,
and while working in greenhouses during college further
further peaked her interest, she really fell in love with plants when living in Ecuador and witnessing the beauty of the Amazon rainforest. Deenie and Dana, while also lovers of gardening and ecology, were strongly driven by the connection Painters provides with the community. They view and treat their staff as family and many customers have become dear friends as well. Plants most definitely have the power to heal as well as foster connections between people of all walks of life - Deenie and Dana feel fortunate to be a part of that. The Owen's other daughter, Vanessa, and her husband, Gavin, are also plant lovers and work seasonally at the greenhouse when not busy with their careers as professional choreographers and dancers (Vanessa has a side business growing cut flowers and often sells her Mackey Meadows creations at Painters!)
Looking to the future, the Owens plan to continue fostering a biodiverse plant selection and look forward to ongoing experimentation with new cultivars and species!