Just a Minute with Chad Johnson, President Johnson’s Nusery Inc.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:39 pm

Company address:  W180 N6275 Marcy Road, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

Company Web site: www.johnsonsnursery.com

Industry: Green industry

Number of employees: 35 to 75, depending upon the season.

Your education: Menomonee Falls High School graduate; still enrolled in the Johnson’s Nursery School of Hard Knocks.

Family: Wife, Lissa; son, Mason; and daughter, Madelyn.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“Began implementing ideas and processes that ingenious members of the company had been pushing for a while.”

What’s new at your company? 

“Everything at Johnson’s is based on the quality of the products we sell. Over 85 percent of those products are plants, which are perishable. We have doubled our holding capacity for ‘ready to go’ plant material that is dug at the proper time and held in the proper environment regarding space, moisture and fertilization.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We are always looking for great people, regardless of experience. It’s not a secret that specific skills can be taught in the short term, but character, integrity and drive are more core values that are difficult to instill if it’s not already (hard-wired) into an individual’s mindset. Capital investments are in the works. We have three different locations that are all at different stages of development. Right now, we have presented a long-range plan to the Village of Menomonee Falls regarding what we would like to do on our Menomonee Falls site. It is more or less a design to improve efficiency and safety from a traffic flow standpoint, as well as provide the proper environment to hold plant material until shipped.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year? 

“Educating the customer. Our client base is just about as broad as it can get in our industry. Our propagation department ships seedling plant material all over the country to be grown on and resold. Our wholesale department ships finished size material to municipalities, garden centers, universities and landscape contractors throughout the Midwest. Our landscape design and installation department generally works in a 50-mile radius of Menomonee Falls. Our retail operation is very hands-on, and our staff is well-educated and most have degrees in horticulture.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Outdoor living space. Color and textures are what everyone wants. People are investing more time in making their yard an extension of their indoor living space. Multiple interest plants (flowers, berries, fall color and structure), perennials, dwarf conifers, patios, walks, grills, fire pits, seating walls and water features all add interest to a home.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Nature’s best to you.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“You don’t even know what you don’t know.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“It’s funny, looking back now.  I was getting stung by wasps on occasion while getting equipment out of a old storage barn. So one day I decided to get rid of the wasps in a rather unorthodox method and upon doing so I burned the entire barn down.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I like to hunt, fish, canoe, hike, and on rain days or cold days, I usually stop by some old timers and shoot the breeze-learn about the past. I have two black labs, 5 years old and 1 year old. I run them on Sundays throughout the year.”

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