Hoosier Orchid Company, located on the far-northwest-side of Indianapolis is going out of business at the end of August. William Rhodehamel started Hoosier Orchid in 1989 after a gift of three of the flowers from a friend sparked an ongoing fascination. He eventually cultivated orchids never before grown from seed, as well as some varieties that have never received scientific names. The company grew to become one of the nation’s most specialized orchid growers.
Photo Credit: Hoosier Orchid Company
Rhodehamel said the ornamental flowers have become a commodity now stocked even at stores like Costco. Business also withered because fewer people are showing interest in the myriad specialty versions that Rhodehamel raised. Membership in the American Orchid Society, a group of hobbyists and enthusiasts, has fallen substantially in recent years.
Almost all the plants in the 5,000-square-foot greenhouse at 82nd Street and Lafayette Road will be offered to the public through Hoosier Orchid’s Web site and sales on site. Operations with mail-order and walk-in customers will continue as usual until August 30th, when shelves will be cleared.
Orchids have now gone the way of so many other items that used to dwell only in small stores or specialty shops. They are now available in big-box stores such as Meijer and Wal-Mart. Once the big-boxes get hold of the product, their ability to command large quantities at low prices sets the stage for competition that smaller stores just can’t beat.
So, another one bites the dust – the dust of the corporate big-box stores. When a specialty product such as orchids goes big-box, I can’t imagine anything that is safe.