Photo courtesy of Vickery Wholesale Greenhouse

What originally started as a florist shop in 1926 is now considered a mecca for interiorscapers and florists. After its transition to wholesale in 1952, Vickery Wholesale Greenhouse has solidified its place in Texas as one of the most recognized plant retail centers. With a location and growing customer base in Austin — about three hours away from its original and more established location in Dallas — Vickery continues to preserve its status in the industry.

As one of the largest wholesale providers in Texas, Vickery offers products ranging from indoor plants to patio collections to orchids, bromeliads, poinsettias and Easter lilies.

“We are a wholesaler and don’t do any retail,” says Owner Pat Berry. “That enables us to have a huge variety of plants, so we cater to interiorscapers, retail florists and garden centers.”

Berry joined the team in 1978 after responding to a route truck driver job in a newspaper ad. In 1982, he owned half of the business and became the sole owner in 1987, during what he considers the interiorscape boom. Not only was there a boom in interiorscaping, Berry says there was also an influx of houseplant purchases, which he is starting to see again today.

Photo courtesy of Vickery Wholesale Greenhouse

“When I first got into the business, there were lots of plant stores,” he says. “When the grocery stores and big-box stores started carrying plants, those little shops went away.” Now, Berry credits the resurgence of plants to the Millennial generation, especially in his area.

“Social media is driving it,” he says. “They’re all over Instagram and everywhere else and we’re selling more plants. And Austin is a college town and it’s become a big city … I’m seeing young people come in and open plant businesses and they’re doing really well with them,” he says. “It’s just like the old days.”

As for a possible recession, Berry doesn’t think it’ll be like the old days. “I’m not really concerned about this one. I don’t think it’ll be as long-lived,” he says. “I think [2008] was really more of a depression than a recession. Nobody likes to use that word, but it was deep and lasted for so long.”

Ironically enough, Berry recalls 2008 as their best year, with profits reaching $6 million at the time. With only one location then, their profits dropped to $3 million, but have risen back up to $5 million. But still, he’s not as worried.

“All the other recessions I’ve been through, we did really well and I’m thinking the reason why we did well is because they weren’t that serious,” he says. “Plus, people that were conserving money spent more time at home and spent on what they were doing at the house. We sold that. People bought plants and it boosted our business. It could happen again.”