Standing by a table of fall decorations in the main greenhouse, East Coast Garden Center and RSC Landscaping owner Rick Cordrey said it’s hard to believe how much the business has grown in the past 30 years.
The first 10 years was just landscaping, and the business started out with four employees, said Cordrey.
Now, he continued, there are 150 employees and 70 greenhouses.
Cordrey, his wife Valery Cordrey and brother Steve Cordrey opened RSC Landscaping in 1990; 10 years later East Coast Garden Center was opened. To celebrate three decades of business, the Cordreys and the staff of East Coast Garden Center are holding a celebration Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3.
In addition to discounts, the first 100 customers will receive a free succulent plant.
There will be a food truck during lunch hours both days.
“It’s a bit weather dependent, but I expect a lot of people,” said Cordrey.
The Cordreys have been farming the fields around Millsboro for generations. Sitting in the main greenhouse is a 1953 Ford tractor used by Cordrey’s father and former Sen. Richard S. Cordrey.
Cordrey said his father gave him and his brother the 16 acres of land the landscaping business and gardening center are located on. It was a cornfield, but didn’t grow very well because it’s low-lying, he said.
Teresa Berner, grower manager, was the first employee hired by the Cordreys. She had worked with Rick when the family was growing cucumbers for Vlasic Pickles.
The growth is amazing, said Berner. It’s hard to believe the business started out in that garage over there, she said, looking in the direction of the main office building.
Cordrey said he swore the business would never put greenhouses across the street from the main operation, but that’s exactly what happened this past year. He said it helps that a second generation of Cordreys – his son, Chris, and Steve’s two sons, Ryan and Mike – have taken on a lot of the day-to-day responsibilities.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have three cousins who want to keep the family business going,” said Cordrey. “It certainly makes my life more enjoyable.”
East Coast Garden Center, 30366 Cordrey Road, Millsboro, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.
The phone number for the garden center is 302-945-3489. The phone number for RSC Landscaping is 302-945-5853. For more information go to www.eastcoastgardencenter.com.