Local resident sprouts at family business

Published 9:38 am Monday, October 7, 2019

By Greg Miller

STAR Correspondent

This month, owners Walter and Joanne Vest are celebrating their 50th year of owning the Vest Greenhouses, which grow an abundance of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

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One might say the couple’s daughter, Jill Vest Jefferies, has sprouted at the greenhouses. She has worked for and with her parents since she was eight years old.

Jefferies says working with her parents at the greenhouses has been a tremendous blessing for her by “combining family time with work, and it’s another way of being there for my parents.”

For Jefferies, the greatest life lesson she’s learned while working with her mom and dad is “to keep on working even when circumstances are against you.”

The greatest part of working at the greenhouses, for Jefferies, is “when somebody is really excited about their purchase.”

The most challenging aspect of working at the greenhouses is “when plants don’t grow like they should and we don’t know the reason why.”

The three most important business lessons she has learned from her parents are “No. 1, Good communication with the customers. No. 2, Different plants have different needs like fertilizer, sun or shade. And No. 3, How to water different varieties of plants appropriately.”

Jefferies says operating the business as Christians helps her and her parents exercise their Christian faith. “We witness to customers,” she said. “We give God the glory for growing our flowers. We give him the praise for strength each day.”

According to Jefferies, she and her parents have “definitely” seen answers to prayer at the business. Those answers range “from growing our plants, and protecting our greenhouses from the weather to healing our bodies so we can work.”

Spring, Jefferies says, is the busiest season at Vest Greenhouses, “because people buy more, like bedding and vegetable plants, perennials, shrubs, and different varieties of hanging baskets.”

The most relaxing time of year is “probably right after our busy spring season,” she said. “We’re able to slow down since many of our plants have been sold. It doesn’t occur the same time every year because of customers buying trends and the weather.”

Customer service plays “a big role” in the operation of the business, according to Jefferies. “We pay attention to what customers are asking. If we don’t have something, we try to locate it for them. We want to be kind and helpful so when each person leaves they definitely want to come back. We have people thanking us for our kindness, and that makes a good day. We appreciate all of our customers.”

Jefferies says the business has utilized two slogans. “We have used the slogan, ‘We are worth the drive.’ Another slogan is, ‘You have tried the rest, now try Vest.’”

Jefferies’ husband, Ken, serves as the pastor of Trinity Assembly of God Church, Johnson City.