by Diana Barnum, Correspondent
Don’t compete. Be unique. That’s the
idea behind successful niche marketing. And that’s just what R.W. Byrnes
Nursery, Inc. does.
Located in Geneva in northeastern Ohio, “Heart of
the Nursery Industry,” R.W. Byrnes Nursery grows specialty plants,
topiaries, field and container grown shrubs and evergreens for the
wholesale landscape and nursery industry. Their niche is grafting. And
their first patented plant is out on the market, the Ilex Crenata Aurea,
‘Drops of Gold.’ “It’s a round bush-type evergreen shrub,” said Ron
Byrnes, owner of the nursery. “The inside of the plant is dark green; the
outside is bright yellow.”
The new grafted plant actually began back in
1987 when Byrnes spotted a yellow branch sticking up in the midst of his
field of green Japanese Holly plants. He took the yellow cutting, rooted
it and went through the 7-year phase until it could be patented and ready
for selling. Last year people purchased liners or 2-inch potted plants
from him. This is the first year that larger plants are available. “We’re
the originators,” explained Byrnes. “I’m basically the sole distributor at
this point, until their liners grow.”
Byrnes hooked up with The
Conard-Pyle Co. for help handling the patenting and marketing of his new
plant. He chose them because Conard-Pyle is experienced with patents. They
know the ins and outs of the testing, logging and other details involved
in the process, making sure that the plant doesn’t revert back during the
first seven years, that the leaves are correctly measured to accuracy,
etc. Since they already have major marketing in progress, they handle the
campaigns for ‘Drops of Gold,’ sharing half the royalties with Byrnes.
This joint venture frees up time for Byrnes so that he can focus on his
own operations and other grafting projects.
Byrnes offered these tips
for others seeking joint venture opportunities:
Finding a new plant is
the biggest thing. You have to be aware and be out there to spot
inconsistencies in growth. Propagate the new plant a couple of years to
make sure it doesn’t revert back. Specs are needed - take time to measure
plant growth, leaf characteristics, color, etc.
Located about a half
mile from the southern shore of Lake Erie, R. W. Byrnes Nursery, Inc. was
established in 1976 when Ron Byrnes was right out of high school. He went
to work for other nurseries that did grafting and learned the trade well.
About a third of his approximate 60 acres hosts a few ponds, a large 25 HP
pump with overhead irrigation system and a growing number of more than 60
poly houses, many earlier ones made of pipe.
R.W. Byrnes Nursery is a
first generation, family run operation with goals to continue to increase
their production in grafted and topiary plants over the next several
years. They currently have more new plants in various stages of being
patented and ready for the public.
For more information, contact R. W.
Byrnes Nursery, Inc., 4150 N Countyline Rd., Geneva, OH 44041. Call
440-466-7056 (ph), 440-466-4635 (fax) or email firstname.lastname@example.org”
email@example.com. Visit them online at