English Gardens, a local family-owned business with six locations in southeastern Michigan, was named the 2015 IGC Retailer of the Year from the IGC (Independent Garden Center) Magazine.
The award was given during the IGC Show at Navy Pier in Chicago on August 20. Company Co-Founders John and Phyllis Darin accepted the award, along with the company’s other shareholders.
The IGC (Independent Garden Center) Retailer of the Year Award is presented annually to a garden center demonstrating notable leadership and innovation. The award was established in memory of Dick Morey, founder of IGC Magazine and an advocate for the independent garden center industry.
English Gardens was founded in 1954 by three brothers-in-law — — John Darin, Sr., Andrew Donatiello and Henry Vespa, planting a seed that would bloom into a thriving family business.
English Gardens was 20 years old when they purchased the store from Mr. English and began their partnership. English Gardens originally consisted of a garden center that was open nine months a year. Today, English Gardens is a full-service nursery, garden center, patio shop, florist, and seasonal Christmas center, offering landscaping and holiday decorating services. The company has six southeastern Michigan locations – Ann Arbor, Clinton Twp., Dearborn Heights, Eastpointe, Royal Oak/Troy and West Bloomfield.
Ten of the company’s 15 shareholders work in the company. They include:
John Darin, President (Son of John & Phyllis Darin)
Debbie Lowman, Chief Information Officer (Daughter of John & Phyllis Darin)
Lynette Walker, Purchasing Manager (Daughter of John & Phyllis Darin)
Dean Darin, Store Director for Royal Oak and Dearborn Heights, and Purchasing Manager (Son of John & Phyllis Darin)
Judy Darin, sales associate in Dearborn Heights floral department (Dean’s Wife, daughter-in-law of John & Phyllis Darin)
Bob Walker, Business to Business Development Manager (Lynette’s Husband, son-in-law of John & Phyllis Darin)
Kevin Lowman, Special Projects Manager (Debbie’s Husband, son-in-law of John & Phyllis Darin)
Rick Vespa, Vice President, Purchasing Hard Goods, and President, English Gardens Landscape Company (Son of the late Henry & the late Marie Vespa)
Frank Janosz, Vice President, Purchasing Live Goods (Son-in-law of the late Henry & the late Marie Vespa)
Linda Vespa Yugovich, Vice President/Buyer (Daughter of the late Henry & the late Marie Vespa)
English Gardens store locations include:
- Ann Arbor, 155 N. Maple at Jackson in the Maple Village Shopping Center
- Clinton Township, 44850 Garfield Road at Hall Road
- Dearborn Heights, 22650 Ford Road at Outer Drive
- Eastpointe, 22501 Kelly Road at Nine Mile Road
- Royal Oak-Troy, 4901 Coolidge Highway
- West Bloomfield, 6370 Orchard Lake Road
English Gardens ranks as the 13th largest independent garden center in the United States. The family-owned business offers top quality products, including plants and flowers for indoors and outdoors, gardening supplies, patio furniture, garden décor, landscape design and installation, as well as the area’s largest selection of Christmas trees and decorations.