Doing Business for Generations: Ludema’s Floral & Gardens

    A six-part series focusing on some of the area’s small family businesses
    Allison Ludema and Parents David and René at Ludema's Floral and Garden's greenhouse on the morning of Tuesday November 28th, 2023. Photo by Alfield Reeves.

    With Valentin’s Day right around the corner, you may find it interesting to know there is always lots of room for growth—of flowers, that is.

    Allison Ludema of Ludema’s Floral and Garden is the fifth generation to work the original land on Eastern Avenue SE. She manages retail operations, special events, purchasing and more, working with her dad, Dave Ludema, who is president, and her mom, Rene’, who is CEO.

    “We have stayed in this area because of the support we get from the West Michigan area,” said Allison Ludema, who was putting bows on Christmas poinsettias as a child and doing flower arranging as a teen. “We feel like people have come to know and love the quality of the plants, most of which are home grown on our property.”

    Hendrik and Hilje Ludema started Ludema’s in the early 1900s, supplying local markets with cauliflower, tomatoes and other vegetable crops. Its retail business began with a farm stand on the Eastern Avenue property, with the name later changing to Ludema’s Floral and Garden and the focus becoming solely on flowers.

    Ludema remembers picking beans with her grandfather in the fields, and his popular lettuce, tomatoes, and sweet corn. Now Ludema’s offers flower arrangements, poinsettias for the holidays, winter plants, Easter flowers, and hanging baskets.

    “So many people stop in and say they once worked here, knew my grandfather from church, went to high school with my dad. I didn’t realize how phenomenal it is to be the fifth generation,” said Ludema. “I love coming to work—I get so much joy from being part of it.”

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