ARCHIVED  October 1, 1995

Loveland retailer expands to Ore.

LOVELAND – Rabbit Shadow Farms, the Loveland-based grower of herbs and topiary, has expanded its operations to a 3.5-acre farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

The move is expected to boost sales at the 5-year-old wholesale and retail operation by taking advantage of the cool coastal breezes that enhance growing conditions for ivy and herb-stock plants.

“We needed to expand, and we felt like for what we wanted to do, it wasn’t necessarily the right thing to expand in Colorado,” co-owner Charlie Gibbs said. “We saw how well some of the things we wanted to grow, grow out here, so we thought, ‘Let’s make a move’.”

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Gibbs, a former Hach Co. executive, and his wife, Mary, who owned In-House Graphics in Loveland, were further convinced by the well-developed nursery industry in the area.

“The nursery industry out here is very large. There’s lots of infrastructure, nurserymen’s organizations and supply companies, and the state is supportive of the nursery industry,” Gibbs said. “Like any business, it’s easier if there are related businesses in the area.”

Ann Klappenbach, general manager of the Loveland farm and retail operation, said allowing ivy to mature at the Oregon farm will make way in the 7,000-square-foot greenhouses on Colorado Highway 402 for more sun-loving herbs. And the time it takes to produce topiary – for some shaped plants, as long as three years – will be trimmed significantly, thanks to the longer Oregon growing season.

“Herbs grow great in Colorado, ivy grows great in Oregon,” Klappenbach said. “The reduced time will increase our numbers greatly, but the main thing is to have the quantities that we need, when we need them.”

Rabbit Shadow ships more than 200 varieties of herbs and scented geraniums, both topiary and bedding plants, to retailers across the nation. Herbs account for the majority of the company’s sales.

Gibbs said the company expects to break even this year, with sales in excess of $300,000. The company’s inventory is also expected to expand as the Gibbs locate new herb varieties.

The Gibbs began exploring a move two years ago, after their son moved to Oregon. Work began on the McMinnville, Ore., farm, known as Rabbit Shadow West, last summer. This winter, two greenhouses will be built on the property.

Rabbit Shadow West will open a retail shop, though the majority of business operations will remain at the facility east of Loveland, Klappenbach said.

LOVELAND – Rabbit Shadow Farms, the Loveland-based grower of herbs and topiary, has expanded its operations to a 3.5-acre farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

The move is expected to boost sales at the 5-year-old wholesale and retail operation by taking advantage of the cool coastal breezes that enhance growing conditions for ivy and herb-stock plants.

“We needed to expand, and we felt like for what we wanted to do, it wasn’t necessarily the right thing to expand in Colorado,” co-owner Charlie Gibbs said. “We saw how well some of the things we wanted to grow, grow out here, so we thought, ‘Let’s…

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