Originally from Holland, George Sr. and Anna Grypma arrived in the Kootenays in the early 1960s with their young children.
The Grypmas started a hobby farm and small seasonal greenhouse, slowly developing into a full-time landscaping and greenhouse enterprise called Georama Growers.
Five or so years ago, after taking the business over from George Sr. and Anna, current owners Case, Imelda and George Grypma realized there wasn’t succession in their family line and began to look for ways to transfer the business to another family.
That transformation began happening when the Grypmas got to know the Brar cherry farming couple from Creston, ensuring a good fit.
“We met them for several months and confirmed they were the right people," said Case, son of George Sr. and Anna.
"We’re happy. We think it’s going to turn out well. They’re committed to moving forward and keeping it as the iconic local business it has become over the years."
"It’s a win-win,” Case adds.
Georama Growers is located west of Nelson in the Blewett area.
Georama Growers is located west of Nelson on Granite Road in Blewett that serves clients throughout the West Kootenay region.
The operations serve clients throughout the West Kootenay with bedding plants; a year-round garden center and nursery; and winter poinsettia crop.
Georama Growers previously had a retail flower shop on Baker Street, but closed the operation and expanded the Garden Centre adding 500 square feet of retail space in at the Blewett location off Granite Road.
Tincy is happy with how the take-over is going.
“We have Case, Imelda and George helping with the transition, and it’s going great. I appreciate the hard work. I’m grateful the whole staff is working hard together as a team.”
Case, Imelda, and George said they are staying on to pass on their expertise.
“We’re in a transition phase where the old owners transfer all the knowledge and expertise necessary to the new owners," Case explained.
"We’ve signed a contract for one year, and after that, there’s a possibility that we’ll be involved in a minor capacity. We’re blessed. Sometimes it’s hard to sell a business and find owners who can see your vision."
Finding owners that will keep on Georama’s team of dedicated staff, many of whom are long-term employees, was essential for the Grypmas.
The Brars, who are learning to operate a retail business for the first time, are grateful for staff continuity.
“We will definitely keep on with the same staff. It’s a privilege for me to have them work so hard as a team. They’re amazing,” says Tincy.
Case expresses how special a place Georama is and he’s happy to see its legacy continue.
“We’re part of a team but more like a family," Case said.
"We all work hard together, and it’s such a rewarding thing that we’re doing, growing plants, trees and shrubs from scratch. It’s challenging. It’s interesting work. We all support each other, love each other and work together."
Case and his wife, Imelda, plan to spend time with their grandchildren and go camping . . . and Case is already building a boat.
“We’re going to have a little bit more work-life balance. We’ve got lots of things planned. Lots of friends and family that we’re going to be able to connect more with,” says Case. “We can already feel the stress levels decreasing as we move into the next phase.”
Providing flowers to weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and funerals, Georama has seen the community through the good times and the sad, says Case.
“It’s been a privilege for our family to be part of that. It’s a great joy.”
As for the future of the business, it will certainly shift and grow as companies do, says Case.
“I’m sure (the Brar’s) will bring their vision forward in the coming years, but definitely building on what we’ve done.”
For example, the Brars might do u-pick strawberries, but it will take time to start growing fruit.
Case is proud of where the business has come and where it is heading.
“Georama came from its humble beginnings of one little greenhouse and us going out doing landscaping to the business that people know it as today," said Case.
"We’re grateful to the new owners for understanding that it’s been our baby for so long. They’ve been really kind and extremely generous, and they’re very hardworking. We can all be proud.”
The Grypmas are very thankful for their long-time customers, after being a business for 50 years.
The Brars want to honour that connection going forward.
“We’re putting in a lot of effort and getting in a lot of hard work, dedication, determination just to run the business as it has been running for the past 40 years," said Tincy.
"It is satisfying to watch plants grow from tiny little sprouts to big beautiful plants: it’s a happy day by the end of the day."
For all your gardening needs, Georama Garden Centre in Blewett has it all.