When Darren Henry and his wife, Jessica, considered purchasing Trinity Greenhouse from the longtime owners, they had no background in horticulture, besides a love of personal gardening and keeping a well-manicured lawn. Now, in the greenhouse’s 43rd year in business and the Henrys’ second season as the owners, they’re continuing to grow the business.
Darren Henry grew up on the peninsula and was family friends with the previous greenhouse owners. In 2016, they brought him on as a full-time employee to learn the ropes.
“It was to make sure I understood what I was getting myself into, because it’s a big job and a handful to run this business,” he said. “We decided it was a good fit for us.”
In early 2018, the Henrys took ownership of the business. Darren said the two have made a few changes to the greenhouse. Customers can now pay with credit cards. In an effort to encourage residents to buy local, the Henrys have also extended greenhouse hours to seven days a week during the peak growing season. The two have also ramped up social media presence — increasing web traffic, Darren said.
“It gives customers the option to shop at a local business and not a big box store,” he said.
The greenhouse sells an abundance of flowers, including more than 65 varieties of roses, vegetable plants, herbs, shrubs, trees and flower baskets. Employees make the potting soil onsite — using a special machine that mixes together the raw ingredients. Henry said almost all of the greenhouses plants are grown from seed. Residents looking for rhubarb or berry plants can also find them at Trinity. The greenhouses’ bestselling items are their flower baskets. Henry said Trinity starts taking reservations for the baskets in March. He said some residents have been reserving the baskets for more than 10 years.
“We really encourage people to call us in early March,” he said. “I only have so many hooks to grow on.”
Despite their peak season being in spring and early summer, Trinity Greenhouse is a year-round operation. Henry said everything gets buttoned down in November, though plant work is happening all year and one employee is kept on to maintain the greenhouse.
“This is our peak season. This is when people think about us, but it’s a year-round operation,” he said. “We got to take care of all that stock, ordering for the next season, going to trade shows — there’s no off season for us.”
During peak season, in the spring and summer months, the greenhouse employs 18 people, mostly young people and high school students, Darren said.
“I think its important people know we’re a local business and we employ a lot of people here in the community,” he said. “It’s a super fun and wholesome work environment and you get to work with plants.”
Darren worked in publishing and distributing for 20 years before working at Trinity. Jessica, who also owns Shorty’s Coffee in Kenai, previously worked in law enforcement. They’re enjoying the change of pace that comes with running the greenhouse.
“I’d much rather be dealing with the public here than working at the DMV, where everyone is grumpy and no one wants to be there,” he said. “When people walk into Trinity, they’re happy to be here. They want to be here. It’s a place they look forward to coming. We’re committed to making this a destination for people.”
Jessica encouraged residents to watch their Facebook and Instagram posts to see what’s new and available at the greenhouse.
The greenhouse stays open to the public until the end of September, and hours and days of operation will be reduced as the summer goes on. In June the greenhouse is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Even when the greenhouse closes its doors in the winter, community members who might need something, should give the office a call.
“If somebody needs potting soil, or needs help with a plant or needs some aloe — I get a lot of calls in the winter for aloe vera, people burning themselves cooking or that kind of thing. If somebody needs something just call the office and if we can help them, we will take care of you,” Darren said.