Ithaca Startup Uses Big Data for Great Gardens

Ithaca Startup Uses Big Data for Great Gardens

Rick Hedrick has been in the plant business for decades. The RISD-educated Ithacan owned and operated the Plantsman Nursery in Groton for 15 years before working as a horticultural consultant in New York City. Today, he runs ShrubBucket.com, a nursery and garden center ordering platform that’s changing the way homeowners get their hands on greenery large and small.

“The idea is that we’re re-inventing the American Garden Center,” says Rick. ShrubBucket.com provides the homeowner higher quality with no shipping costs, he explains. “We cut out the middleman.”

The business operates through an online platform that allows users to select and purchase their plants of choice directly from the wholesaler, and have it delivered directly to their home. The company looks to eliminate areas of friction for the customer, making plant delivery smoother and easier. Part of the virtue of the ShrubBucket.com method is the guarantee that the plants are fresh and in good condition, says Rick – in a store, the plants may have been sitting, unattended.

“With this model, we’re the only ones that offer this sort of platform,” he says. “There are lots of people who sell plants online, but we operate on a larger scale.” ShrubBucket.com differentiates itself by providing a wealth of information about each plant on their platform, allowing customers to find the best plant for their space.

“Our work is very seasonal,” says Rick. “90% of our sales are in the spring weeks.” He explains that now, in their quieter winter months, the company is working on improvements to the online platform. They also plan to launch a second facet of their business: facilitating sales between wholesalers and other landscaping businesses.

 

This won’t be the first time the company has adjusted its services. Rick notes that he founded the business in Ithaca for the purpose of testing the business model. Now in its third year of operation, ShrubBucket.com is focused on perfecting that model. Initially, their concept didn’t fit the Ithaca market, so Rick and his team shifted to focus their service on wholesalers. “That’s part of why we chose Ithaca,” notes Rick. “Ithaca is a really dynamic horticultural community, and we wanted to test it out here.”

Rick, a native of the Ithaca and its business community, has run two companies in the area, and he cites the many resources in the region as a top benefit. “The talent pool here is what’s so great,” he says. “There’s a great horticultural program, and we’re able to pull people from that.” He’s also a fan of residential life here, noting that the citizens of Ithaca create a dynamic and forward-thinking community.

Looking ahead, the company hopes to scale its business even further. In the upcoming spring, they will serve all of Central New York, with the hopes of expanding nationwide soon. “Ideally, we’ll choose the top ten markets on the East Coast and create hubs in those cities,” says Rick of their planned business growth. “We’ll still provide our own delivery.”

ShrubBucket.com has been a Rev Member Company since 2016, and Rick says they’ve gained a lot by working with the incubator. “Rev really filled in the missing pieces for us,” he adds.

You can check out the Rev Twitter and Instagram accounts for more updates about Rev and its fantastic member companies. For more information on Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and the Hardware Accelerator Program, sign up for our newsletter or email us info@revithaca.com

Ruthie