Deep Roots: Tebbs Farms & Greenhouses
Welcome to Tebbs Farms and Greenhouses, where the indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment of our founders continue to shape our path towards success. Our humble beginnings, rooted in the determination of Dick and Mable Tebbs, have blossomed into a modern and innovative enterprise. From the early days, when an army tent served as our retail space, we have embraced new technologies and sustainable practices while remaining true to the values that fueled our founders' passion. Today, as we cultivate the future of Tebbs Farms and Greenhouses, we remain dedicated to honoring their legacy by providing our community with the freshest, highest quality produce and a warm, personalized service. Join us as we grow together, nurturing resilience, passion, and community every step of the way.
From Past to Present: Embracing the Legacy and Identity of Tebbs
The Founding Years: Making a dream a reality
In the 1950s, Richard "Dick" Tebbs and his wife Mable turned their lifelong dream of owning a farm into reality. Dick's unwavering passion for farming was evident from an early age, and Mable recalls how it was always his true calling. Their connection to agriculture ran deep, as Dick's father owned a "truck farm," which involved growing produce sold from trucks or wagons. Mable's first job involved selling produce at a neighboring truck farm, further cementing their shared love for farming. While Dick worked at the Foundry and drove school buses, Mable took on a second shift job at Sylvania, diligently saving money to acquire their first farm—a 7-acre plot in Montoursville on Canfield. Remarkably, this very farm remains in their ownership today, serving as the cherished location for the first sweet corn harvest of each season.
In the 1960s, Tebbs Farms experienced significant expansion and growth. It all began when Dick's brother, Willard Tebbs, suggested selling produce in front of his property on Four Mile Drive. Inspired by the idea, they purchased the land from Willard and established Tebbs Farm's first retail area—an army tent displaying a variety of produce, including sweet corn, radishes, and potatoes. However, Mable remembers the challenging conditions under the tent, with rain blowing in, a musty smell, and frequent collapses. Determined to progress further, they invested their savings into another farm in Montoursville, situated across from the PP&L plant along the Susquehanna River. This expansion provided additional farmland and prompted the construction of a new retail building, expertly built by Wilfred Black of Loyalsock. Equipped with lighting and power, the building allowed them to extend their business hours from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week. Seizing this opportunity, they introduced greenhouses and hot beds in the parking lot, filled with bedding plants and Easter bulbs. This strategic move elevated their business to new heights, enabling them to operate earlier in the year and solidifying their position as a prominent pillar in Loyalsock Township.
New Products and Relationships
During the dynamic 1970s, Tebbs Farms experienced remarkable progress and expansion, closely paralleling the growth of their family and agricultural endeavors. John and Rich Tebbs, the sons of Dick and Mable, assumed integral roles within the business, propelling its development to unprecedented heights. By the early 1970s, Tebbs Farms extended its reach by venturing into wholesaling, supplying their quality produce to various retailers. Notable among their partners were esteemed establishments such as Ed's Market, S&E's, Tony's Deli, Funck's Restaurant, and Weis Markets, among others. Collaborating with numerous local stores across Williamsport necessitated a dedicated day solely for fresh deliveries. Sweet corn emerged as the flagship product, becoming synonymous with the Tebbs name and highly sought after by customers throughout the region.
Diversification and Additions
In the transformative 1990s, Tebbs Farms underwent a significant generational shift as John and Robin Tebbs took over from Dick and Mable. Under their leadership, the business flourished and expanded. John focused on farming, adding more farmland in Nisbet and cultivating a variety of crops like field corn, soybeans, and green beans for processors. They also expanded their wholesaling offerings, supplying sweet corn, cantaloupes, and watermelons to major grocery chains. Robin became the face of the business, expanding both the retail and wholesale divisions. She developed strong relationships with customers, known for her personalized service and creative flair. The addition of renovated greenhouses allowed them to offer thousands of hanging baskets, custom-designed containers, and exclusive flower cultivation. Furthermore, they ventured into tree farming, selling fresh-cut Christmas trees and designing unique wreaths. Together, John and Robin propelled Tebbs Farms to new heights, solidifying their position as a respected pillar in the industry.
Overall, the 1990s marked a transformative period for Tebbs Farms, with John and Robin Tebbs taking the helm. Their dedication to farming and business expansion resulted in increased farmland, diverse crops, and expanded wholesaling operations. Robin's personal touch and creative approach enhanced the retail and wholesale divisions, while the addition of renovated greenhouses enabled a wider range of products. Their foray into tree farming and fresh Christmas wreaths further diversified the business. Through their combined efforts, John and Robin cemented Tebbs Farms' position as a respected and thriving enterprise.
Expansion and New Adventures
In the 2000s, Tebbs Farms continued to evolve and innovate, introducing new ventures and expanding their offerings. One significant development was the expansion of their retail greenhouse, which now boasted five greenhouse bays instead of four. This expansion allowed for a wider variety of plants and products to be offered to customers. Additionally, after a five-year hiatus, Tebbs Farms resumed selling Christmas trees, providing a fresh and festive option for customers during the holiday season. Another notable addition to their product lineup was the introduction of frozen corn, which was now prepackaged and available for sale. This expansion into frozen produce offered customers a convenient and long-lasting option. Tebbs Farms also forged a partnership with Knoebels Amusement Park, which became one of their largest suppliers. As the 2000s drew to a close, Tebbs Farms made significant strides by introducing market boxes and soup kits. These innovative additions enabled Tebbs Farms to tap into a new market segment, providing meal options that were both delicious and healthy. Market boxes offered convenient solutions for up to six people, ensuring that customers could enjoy wholesome meals with ease. Similarly, the introduction of soup kits simplified the cooking process, offering a simple and nutritious choice for those seeking a satisfying soup experience. With these new offerings, Tebbs Farms successfully catered to the evolving needs of their customers, remaining committed to innovation and customer satisfaction.
Continuing the Legacy
Tebbs Farms, in the era of "Tebbs of Today," embarked on a transformative journey to meet the evolving needs of their customers. In 2022, John and Robin made the decision to renovate their farm stand, a long-awaited dream turned into a necessary reality. The old market, built in the 1950s to replace the tent, held sentimental value, but with changing shopping trends, it was time to adapt. The initial stand had limitations, especially the inability to provide heat during winter months, forcing closures. Tebbs Farms recognized the shift in consumer expectations, where produce is available year-round at multiple stores. To address these challenges, the new retail space was designed for year-round operation, equipped with radiant floor heating and offering select products even in off-seasons. The addition of a dedicated kitchen area facilitated the expansion of pre-made, convenient offerings such as fresh cut fruits, pre-cut vegetables, soups, baked goods, salads, salsas, and an extended range of frozen produce.
The new building also embraced the pre-order and pick-up trend, allowing customers to save time and minimize contact by placing orders in advance. With a dedicated order area, customers could conveniently collect their pre-ordered items at their preferred time. Moreover, the decision to enclose the building, though challenging due to the loss of the open-air market feel, proved beneficial. It ensured fresher produce, improved insulation, enhanced security, safety, and an appealing curb appeal. The addition of a welcoming front porch balanced the desire for open-air shopping, providing a pleasant and inviting retail space. Tebbs Farms embraced these changes, recognizing the importance of meeting customer demands and embracing convenience in a dynamic market landscape.