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Story sponsored by Al's Home & Garden. AI's Home and Garden has been an industry leader for nearly 75 years.

AL'S GARDEN & HOME - Al's Garden & Home grows 80% of all greenery they sell.

Did you know Al's Garden & Home grows 80% of the plants they sell? It's true, and more than that, Al's has been an industry leader in Oregon for nearly 75 years.

In 1948, Al and Ann Bigej opened Al's Fruit Stand, housed in an unused chicken coop on Hwy. 99 in Woodburn. As locals and tourists traveling the highway would stop for fruit and produce, Al's popularity grew. Over the years, the Bigej family has grown and adapted that small fruit stand into the Al's Garden & Home we know and love today.

From Woodburn to Gresham, Wilsonville and Sherwood, the name Al's is synonymous with quality products, top-notch customer service, and a family tradition of excellence that has continued to build customer loyalty generation after generation.

"Of course, we couldn't do what we do without the community around us. They have supported us over the past 74 years and allowed us to grow into the company we are," Mark Bigej, co-owner and chief operations officer, explained. "We are very fortunate to have an amazing group of employees we like to refer to as our 'Al's Family.' My grandfather and dad, Jack, established the family feel and built this business on dreams and hard work. Two of my sisters and I joined my father in the business in the 90s and have continued to build the business as a family. There's something very powerful about being a family business."

In all those years, Al's has progressed with the farming and horticulture industry offering the freshest products grown nearby (limiting natural resource consumption from transportation). And with a concern about sustainability, Al's is exploring utilizing solar power at their greenhouses to increase productivity and sustainability. Other environmental practices used by Al's reaffirm them as an industry leader.

"We continue to invest and evolve our sustainable business practices," Mark said. "Al's uses beneficial insects to control pests in all retail stores. We recycle our water for irrigation use at the Sherwood store. At our farms, we make compost out of our plant waste, and we are exploring the possibility of installing a solar array to transition into a sustainable power supply."

From annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, patio furniture, garden supplies, gifts, houseplants, pottery, and even bulk soil, Al's Garden & Home has acres of greenery and accessories. Not content to sell plants, Al's offers seminars, workshops, and a kid's club class series for customers to learn more about gardening. The Bigej family's love of gardening can be seen in the attention to detail at their stores and the enthusiasm of their 225 employees, who look forward to helping customers grow their yards and gardens.

Today, the legacy of Al Bigej lives on in his son Jack and the Bigej family. Jack's wife Deanna is his sounding board and is herself, an avid gardener, and three of their four children work in the family business. Darcy (Bigej) Ruef serves as Chief Financial Officer. Dorothy (Bigej) Russo manages the growing facilities, and Mark oversees the retail side as the Chief Operations Officer.

"It's not without its challenges, but it is nice to know that whatever struggles you are going through, you have your family to support you. We try to carry that feeling throughout our business and while the business is important, we firmly believe family always comes first. We truly enjoy working with each other. We strive to carry that feeling throughout our entire Al's family. We hope this feeling comes through to our customers when they visit us," Mark said.

Find your local Al's Garden Center at www.als-gardencenter.com

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