Local success story
Nesbitts greenhouse: from small garage to household name
Muriel Nesbitt was born and raised in Aylmer. She came from a humble happy home. “We didn’t have much, but we were happy,” said the 97-year-old, reminiscing about her childhood. She and her eight siblings grew up in a home on Eardley Road, near where Nesbitts Greenhouse is now located.
She married her husband Herald Nesbitt, and raised her children at home. At the time, Mrs. Nesbitt supported her family by crafting various handmade items that she would sell to a store with eight locations in Quebec, and by hosting crafting open houses at her home.
Herald Nesbitt was a stationary engineer and had summers off. He grew up with a family who did market gardening; they would grow fruits and vegetables to sell wholesale to markets in Ottawa. Mr. Nesbitt had a small at-home greenhouse where he grew vegetables in the summer. In 1953, Mrs. Nesbitt had the idea to turn Mr. Nesbitt’s small greenhouse into a viable business. That summer they started selling vegetables out of their garage. They did not know it at the time, but their business would soon grow into the well-known and beloved large family-owned and operated greenhouse and nursery that it is today.
Later, Mrs. Nesbitt started reading about growing flowers. Soon after Mr. Nesbitt started growing flowers and Mrs. Nesbitt would sell them along with the vegetables.
The business was slowly growing, and they decided to hire someone to build a bigger greenhouse on their property. “I was so scared when we got the greenhouse, I thought nobody was going to come, but people did. Slowly, every week more people would come and soon there were people wall to wall. We were very busy,” said Mrs. Nesbitt. “People loved it, and I loved them. I loved what I was doing. We had a very happy place; the staff was happy, and we were happy.”
It was not without its challenges, however. Mrs. Nesbitt remembers that, when Allumettière was built, it redirected traffic and fewer people passed by the Greenhouse. However, it did not take long for customers to start flowing back.
Mr. and Mrs. Nesbitt’s son Ron Nesbitt grew up working at the Greenhouse and eventually took over the business which he now runs with his wife Sylvia Nesbitt. “I am very pleased with how they run Nesbitt’s. I couldn’t be happier, seeing it grow into what it is now,” said Mrs. Nesbitt.
Nesbitts is now a 45,000 sq.ft greenhouse and nursery that offers an impressive variety of flowers, plants, and everything one would need for their garden. It never strayed from its roots as a family owned and operated business even as it blossomed into the household name that it is today. Nesbitt’s Greenhouse is at 147 Chemin Eardley in Aylmer.
Photo caption: Muriel Nesbitt, founder of Nesbitt's Greenhouse, now 97 years old telling her story about starting a business in Aylmer.
Photo credit: Muriel Nesbitt