Twenty years ago, a dream of entrepreneurship, two years in the making, came true for one local family. Steve Frankow, a UW-River Falls graduate with a degree in agriculture, and wife Cathy Hedge, graduate of Prudue University with an industrial engineering degree, recognized the need for a garden center in Green Bay’s East side. With two kids and a third on the way, Steve and Cathy ambitiously worked toward their goal of opening their own garden center outside of their nine-to-five jobs by creating a business plan, obtaining land, re-zoning that land, getting building permits and the list went on. “It wasn’t as easy to do the research then,” said Cathy, “I had to go to the library and sift through articles to create our business plan since it was before the days of Google.”
After much hard work, their garden center, Ivy Trails Gift & Garden, opened in 1999 at 3200 Main Street, Green Bay. Shortly after, their third child arrived and things didn’t slow down for them. Steve worked tirelessly seven days a week taking any jobs he could in the beginning to generate income while Cathy continued working for Georgia Pacific Paper Mill and working at Ivy Trails after her regular work shift with their youngest child clinging to her hip.
Together, they continued to build the business, adding more greenhouses and expanding their product lines into memorial gifts and more seasonal décor to create steady sales year-round. As business grew, Cathy was able to quit her engineering job and work side-by-side with Steve at Ivy Trails. In 2014, Steve and Cathy opened a second gift store location in downtown Manitowoc. As their children grew-up each worked at Ivy Trails for a short time. Today, their youngest, Gabrielle, still works at Ivy Trails along with attending UW-Green Bay as a marketing major.
Ivy Trails has grown and thrived off the core value that the customer comes first.The staff at Ivy Trails works to ensure every customer leaves feeling good about their shopping experience and that they are satisfied with the quality of their purchase.