Krayniks live by the seasons
Todd and Linda Kraynik are planning to add a third greenhouse at their Church Road business this year.
Since they opened their floral business seven years ago, sales have grown annually and they are now selling more than 400 baskets a season.
Not bad for a business that is open less than two months a year – beginning in late April and continuing through mid-June, according to Kraynik.
“While it is always good to see the returning customers, it is even better to see the new customers each spring, ” Todd said.
He usually records his biggest sales on Mother’s Day weekend.
Kraynik credits the steady increase in sales to his ability to “change it up” every year – adding new flowers and pots based on customer requests.
This year, he is offering baskets of new peach and pink verbena as well as an unusual color of purple petunias.
Sales to businesses have also increased because he is one of only a few greenhouses that is willing to plant pots for businesses using their own containers.
“Some nurseries are afraid that the used pots will bring in diseases,” said Kraynik. “But I haven’t had any problem so far.”
Kraynik, who manages the business full-time while Linda works full-time in Green Bay, says he doesn’t stop working in mid-June. He moves on to the Kraynik Berry Farm where he partnered in 1980 with his parents, Ken and Judith, to grow strawberries on two of the family’s 40 acres. The berry sales and the pick-your-own strawberry business were so successful that the family has since added another five acres of strawberries to their fields on Wisconsin 29 and Church Road.
With strawberry picking lasting from mid to late June, Kraynik then decided to keep their income growing by planting two acres in raspberries, which ripen the first week of July.
Kraynik says that the greenhouses help counter the risks in the berry business.
“This is different from strawberries and raspberries where Mother Nature has a say and you can have a bad year,” said Kraynik. “When you have problems in the greenhouse, it is your fault, not Mother Nature’s.”
Kraynik says that he has learned that timing is the most important part of growing flowers commercially.
“You have to plant the pots in late February, but if you plant the baskets too early your flowers get too big and if you plant them too late, they are too small when you want to sell,” he said. “You learn fast.”
Kraynik recognized his “love of growing things” early.
When he was 11 years old, he began working for Clarence Greiling in his Bellevue greenhouse, making $60 a week picking tomatoes and helping him supply tomatoes and other produce to Green Bay area stores.
He worked there until he was 16.
“That is when I knew that kind of work is what I wanted to do,” he said.
Then he partnered with his parents to plant the strawberry fields. Years later, a company that supplied them seeds offered free flower seeds as a buying incentive. Kraynik took the seeds and planted them in baskets.
“Two ladies came to pick raspberries, and I had them displayed on stands,” said Kraynik. “They bought the baskets and told me that if I grew them again next year they would come back for more.”
Kraynik continued to work in full-time in construction for 23 years, while they raised their two children, Tyler and Amanda..
But when the construction market crashed in 2008, he decided to see if he could make a living on their 32 acres and built the two greenhouses. After the flower and berry seasons end in July, he focuses on growing tomatoes and other vegetables on his land, and also raises beef cattle that they have butchered and share with family and friends.
His other major business, however, is pumpkins. He grows them on about 10 acres and sells half of them wholesale and the other half from his parent’s home in Bellevue.
This year, his contract with Floral Plant Growers of Denmark has doubled.
“I don’t really finish up until Halloween,” he said.
After the growing season he has a few months off to pursue one of his other favorite interests – bowling.
Kraynik is one of the leading bowlers in the county and last year sent a record by bowling two perfect games in one day.
“Winter is when we take our vacation time,” he said.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Krayniks live by the seasons