Bluestone is a family owned and operated business founded in 1972 by Richard
Boonstra. Located close to Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio, Bluestone
grows and ships over 3 million plants a year nationwide.
- Historical Background
Bluestone Perennials was
started in two small rented glass houses in Mentor, Ohio in 1972.
Richard Boonstra had a vision that the new plastic cell-packs and
soil-less potting mediums were a natural fit with mailorder
marketing and sales. He and his wife, Patti, and their two teen-aged
children set their feet on a path that would become their life’s
work. They shipped 400 orders that first year from a card table
sized office set up in the potting area. Three years and larger
rented facilities later, sales were good enough for Rich to devote
himself full time to Bluestone.
In 1975, the Boonstras
purchased a vegetable farm on 47 acres in Madison, Ohio. The big
farmhouse was in sad repair, but the land was good. They set about
fixing up the house, and for the first 15 years, the office occupied
half of the house. That first year Bluestone sold vegetables, mums,
pumpkins, and perennials. Every year saw growth and more
- The Second (and Third) Generation
As Bluestone continued to
evolve, the second generation of the Boonstra family joined the
business. Bill returned to the business first in 1983, bringing his
young family and wife, Sarah, back to Madison. Daughter Jan later
returned from Michigan with her husband, Al Pavlinak, and their son.
By 1994, Bill had taken over the family business with continued help
and support from family members Sarah, Jan and Al. Rich eventually
retired to pursue his many hobbies while remaining close by –
he and Patti still live on the nursery’s property.
In the recent years,
the third generation of the Boonstra family has also come to join
the company’s ranks. Bill and Sarah’s son Rick lends his
engineering and programming expertise to numerous projects while
daughter Jess acts as the company’s graphic designer.
- Bluestone Today
Thanks to Bluestone’s
many loyal employees – many of whom have been with the company
since the early days – Bluestone has grown to be one of the
largest mail order nurseries in the country. The company does their
own packing and shipping, employs a staff of over 100 during their
busy spring season and maintains over 250,000 square feet of
greenhouses filled with over 3 million plants. The company has also
emerged as an industry leader in green practices – recently
switching to 100% biodegradable coco pots and eliminating the use of
shipping peanuts in their packaging.
The Boonstra family and
staff are very grateful for the long term support of their
customers, business associates, and professional organizations. They
look forward to beautifying your world for many years to come.