If it weren't for the Depression, the Harder-Warner family might be farming in Ionia County. The late Henry Harder lost his farm when the bank that held his money closed and he could not pay his taxes. Henry could not stay away from the dirt. He moved his family to Grand Rapids and made his living putting in lawns and hauling dirt.In 1954, Henry's son-in-law, Archie H. Warner, husband of Erma, joined the landscaping business, forming Harder & Warner Garden Center. The business began in the Godwin Heights area moving to 28th Street in 1957.
Archie A. Warner graduated from WMU in 1972 in Business. He traveled for Dexter Lock until the family business drew him back in. As a driving force, Archie mechanized any labor he could. Loaders minimized the back breaking work. Automatic tree diggers increased the digging process from ten trees a day to 100. He grew more and more stock on tree farms to minimize the freight charges paid when purchasing large trees.
Soon the landscape business outgrew its' 28th Street address and relocated on Broadmoor Ave. in Caledonia in 1979. With more room, the landscaping business evolved into a retail Garden Center.
In 2000, Archie's daughter, Jonci, graduated from WMU in Business and entered Retail Sales. In 2003, Archie John graduated from MSU in Horticulture and Landscape Design and became a designer. To complete the team, Jonci's husband, Kevin, came on board to run the maintenance and irrigation division.
Erma Warner, at 84 years young, hardly misses a day of work. Archie's wife, Kathy, does whatever is needed on any given day. Even 5th generation Mya-Rose sometimes makes an appearance around the Garden Center. It is truly a "family business", but you do not have to have the name "Warner" to be a part of the family. We consider each of our employees "family"! Many have been with us 25 years or more and each is an integral part that makes the machine work.
Harder & Warner welcomes you and wants to make you part of the H&W family, too. Visit often, ask questions, enjoy yourself! We're so glad you're here!!!