A Personal Account of Our History
Our Colorful Past and Bright Future
Our family first started growing vegetables in 1904 in Puritas Springs, Ohio. Our first greenhouses were built in 1923 by my great grandfather, Ernest Schuster, in order to produce tomatoes and other vegetables throughout the year. For several decades our family operation grew along with the greenhouse vegetable industry (dominated by “hothouse” grown tomatoes) in the Cleveland area.
My grandfather, Harold, assumed control of the family business in the late 1940’s, which by then comprised 1.5 acres under glass (on 15 acres of land) heated by a coal boiler, a production “head house”, or barn, and a truck or two for delivering the vegetables to “market” in Cleveland.
My father, Russell, also started with the business at that time, after finishing active duty at the end of the war and completing his Bachelor Degree from Ohio University (in just 3 years!)
Russell Schuster was primarily responsible for building our family vegetable business into the floriculture greenhouse operation we have today. He and his father built an additional 2 acres of greenhouses between 1950 and 1965, and upgraded the production facilities.
After buying out the business from his father in the late 1960’s, Russell undertook several major steps in the 1970’s: (1) he purchased the 5 acre Westview Greenhouse range on the adjacent 13-acre property to the south, more than doubling the size of the operation; (2) because of many factors such as heating cost, he switched from vegetables to growing flowering and indoor tropical plants (along with many other greenhouses in the Cleveland area); and (3) making good on a promise he made to himself since he was a child, Russell bought the adjacent 17-acre property to the north which his grandfather was forced to sell in order to survive the Great Depression.
At the time of Russell’s untimely death in 1995 (less than 2 years after I “re-entered” the family business) Schuster’s Greenhouse was producing flowering and foliage plants from 8.5 acres of glass houses. Most plants were sold wholesale and delivered by our trucks, but we also had maintained a seasonal retail facility for 10 years.
Over the past decade we have added a variety of production greenhouses, including: (1) a half-acre range with inflated double-poly covering and heated floor; (2) a half-acre “pad” with heated floor, retractable shade roof and roll-up walls (essentially a protected outside area); (3) an acre of “traditional” style greenhouses made from refurbished materials from a former greenhouse in Lorain Co.; (4) a small, state-of-the-art retractable roof (MX) greenhouse, initially our retail center but now our new Wholesale Center; (5) another half-acre of glass houses initially used for production, but now part of (6) our new Retail Center- featuring a 32 ft high atrium greenhouse and a matching style retail barn, which opened in 2001.
My wife, Mary Ellen Schuster, manages our new Garden Center – Schuster’s Westview Gardens – named after the old unincorporated town of Westview, which merged into Olmsted Falls.
Please come see us,