Meet the Honorees

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SunBlest Gardens

SunBlest Gardens is a commercial greenhouse that grows over 100 different varieties of plants, grasses, annuals, perennials, and tropicals that you can find at some of your favorite local retail markets. Established in 2017, they have eight acres of greenhouses and 10 additional acres of field and shade houses, and they are currently expanding their growing space! Twice a year they open up their doors to the community to browse and purchase their plant products at wholesale prices.

Founded in: 2017

County

Wakulla County

Industry

Wholesale Trade

Employee Growth 2019-2022

89% increase 

Revenue Growth 2019-2022

113% Increase

Caleb Van Wingerden

CEO

Was there an “aha” moment that led you to your entrepreneurial journey or the idea for your company?

Snapdragons!- The “ah-ha” moment that led me to embark on my entrepreneurial journey was a revelation sparked by Snapdragons! These vibrant flowers opened my eyes to a passion and purpose that felt preordained. I’ve always found immense joy in the field I grew up in, and it became clear that I wanted to turn that joy into a business. It was a calling that I couldn’t ignore, and my love for what I do has been a driving force.

What was the driving force behind you chasing fulfilling your dream of being a business owner?

Continuing the legacy of my family in this industry was a powerful motivator. So was growing up the way I did on the farm next to the greenhouse immersed in it with my family. I wanted that for my wife and kids. So in 2017 my wife and I decided to move here from Colorado. It took faith and courage to step out on my own, but with a deep-rooted connection to the field in my DNA, I was determined not to let it stop with me. Growing the business became a mission, and that drive fueled my courage.

Our business brings tremendous value to customers by providing the joys of outdoor living, family bonding through gardening, and the gift of watching plants grow. Many of our plants are perennials, offering a gift that keeps on giving. The beauty our products add to our customers’ lives is immeasurable. Our commitment to consistent quality growth and reliable shipping is what sets us apart.

The culture of our organization is very family-oriented, quality-driven, and passion-driven.

We strive to make sure everyone wins. If you are working with us you can expect honesty, humor and passion. 

Our competitive edge stems from my connection to one of the largest horticulture industries in the United States, providing access to numerous opportunities.

Competitors providing subpar products lowering the standards of what consumers expect. That race to the bottom with the scarcity mindset. The labor force, finding quality employees. Rising insurance rates. Environmental factors- unforeseen hurricanes, deer, pests.

You learn to pivot. You have to be able to automate, use machinery, as well as learn from your mistake and you do it right next time. This industry is very open and tells us what works and what doesn’t. 

What does it mean to be selected as a GrowFL FLCTW Honoree?

Being selected as a FLCTW honoree holds immense significance for me. It serves as a validation of the hard work we’ve put into building our business and the unwavering dedication of our team members in delivering quality products. It’s not just an honor; it’s a tangible recognition of our collective efforts.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for getting you to where you are now?

Being selected as a FLCTW honoree validates our hard work and dedication to quality products. It’s a huge honor that inspires our team to continue growing and improving our business. I’d like to thank GrowFL for acknowledging our growth, Ovid Solutions Beth and Julie, and our team members for their dedication.

Most importantly my wife Melanie for always believing and supporting me and encouraging me to grow and better myself and strive for excellence daily.

What is your advice for aspiring or fellow business owners?

  • Ask a lot of questions. Instead of asking how can I do this. Ask who can help me achieve this goal? Who not How.
  • Work with local entrepreneurs and mentors. Work with a business coach and/or peer advisory. I am a part of C12 and Strategic Coach.
  • Have an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset. Be transparent, open, and honest!
  • Protect your time. Work, life balance! Spend quality time with friends and family. Work will always be here!
  • Practice a slow yes during growth. Ask the question. What’s in it for them?
  • Build a great team! Delegate and elevate! Without a great team, you can’t grow. So always develop and build talent.

Join us for the celebration!

February 15, 2024 | Hard Rock Live - Orlando, FL
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